Agriculture Center Awaits Judgment
The Sam Houston State University Agricultural Center may soon be replaced by a hotel/convention center.
The agricultural center is located at I-45 North, adjacent to the Bearkat softball complex and across the highway from the Raven's Nest Golf Club.
In a recent article in the Huntsville Item, Jack Parker, vice president of finance and operations said a final decision should be made by May 7. He also said 20 requests-for-proposals were sent out to major hotel chains, architects and firms.
Selling the land would benefit the university by allowing it to house all of its agriculture services in one place. In June 2003, the faculty of the department of agricultural sciences organized a plan to build new facilities at Gibbs Ranch. The total estimated cost of this project would be $14.2 million.
Dr. Robert Lane, professor and chair of the agricultural department said the facilities on I-45 are in bad shape and he is very excited about the possibility about having new facilities in a new location. Lane said classes will remain on campus, but new facilities for labs are needed.
"We need a place for our lab facilities and research facilities," Lane said. "The meat sciences facility, that's the first priority."
Lane added that faculty in the agricultural department hope to have a new covered arena, restroom and concession facilities, and new horticulture facilities, providing there is enough money.
"Nothing's for sure until it's done," Lane said.
Lane has been told that the property on I-45 will be sold and the agricultural department will receive new facilities at Gibbs Ranch. "We have presented some ideas for new facilities. But the extent of those facilities, will depend on how much money the administration is able to come up with," Lane said. "We have some very lofty goals. Time will tell whether those can be achieved or not."