Thursday, September 23, 2004

Houstonian: HKC addition brings new amenities

From the Houstonian:
The HKC expansion will be approximately 26,000 sq. feet and will be tied into the existing HKC, allowing flow from one to the other.

The addition will include a 10,000 sq. feet, weight and fitness room, outdoor heated swimming pool equipped with lap lanes, 34 foot climbing wall and boulder, multipurpose room, changing rooms, access to indoor track with a stretching area and a new entry and lounge.

HKC users can stop by the Health and Kinesiology Center to see the construction in action and/or visit Sam's athletic homepage to see the photos of the progress.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Houstonian: Record enrollment causes influx of parking predicaments at SHSU

From the Houstonian:
With a record enrollment of 14,314 students reported last week, it is easy to see why things seem to be getting more crowded around campus. When asking students about their thoughts on the enrollment figures, the echoing concern always seemed to be the parking situation on campus. This is a concern that has been around for a long time.

A quick look across campus will reveal a multitude of construction taking place, such as the addition to the Health and Kinesiology building, a new science building, expansion of the Smith-Hutson Business building and a new baseball/softball complex.

With the addition of a new parking garage on the north side of the campus, the parking situation was helped a little, but taking away numerous spaces due to the construction of the new science building has offset that relief. In spite of this fact, many students do not feel that they should have to pay an additional parking fee on top of the $45 price tag of the parking sticker required to park on any campus lots.

The addition of new parking facilities would be an ideal solution, but as one can see by looking around the campus, there is no where to put them. The University is busy trying to expand its classroom counts to have room for the influx of new students, and there is not any great expanse close to or on campus to put a vast parking lot or another parking garage, for that matter.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Houstonian: New complex brings excitement to SHSU sports

From the Houstonian:
A new facility is being built at the corner of Bowers Blvd and Sycamore for the Sam Houston State baseball and softball teams.

Construction began on the $5.5 million complex in December 2003. A new baseball park, softball field, locker rooms, indoor hitting cages, lighting, and coaches offices are some of the features of the new facility.

The new baseball field has a seating capacity of 1,200 while the new softball field has a seating capacity of 600. The Bearkats previously played at Holeman Field which has a seating capacity of 700.

The biggest upgrade of the new complex over the old ones is the addition of lights. While most of the softball and baseball games were scheduled during the day, the teams can now play at night and play doubleheaders. With the improved facilities, the Bearkats are hoping to host regional and Southland conference tournaments. Two of those upgrades are the new press box and concession area.

The new complex still does not have a name. The teams are hoping to move into the complex spring 2005.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Today@Sam: Panoramic Photo Scheduled for Oct. 12

Sam Houston State University students, faculty and staff are invited to have their picture taken with thousands of their closest friends while celebrating the university's 125th birthday on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at noon on Intramural Field No. 2.

Events include the opportunity to be in a historic photo, and to have a piece of an eight foot wide birthday cake.

The last panoramic photo was taken on Oct. 10, 1978 where the Health and Kinesiology Center now stands to kick off events associated with Sam Houston State's 100th birthday. Paul Culp, special collections librarian, was one of those whose picture was taken. "I remember that it was hot," he said. "And I remember that some of the fraternity boys were trying to run from one side of the group to the other side so that they would be in the picture twice."

Group pictures have been a tradition at the university, almost from the beginning. Early pictures show students and faculty in a variety of locations on campus, mostly in front of Old Main or Austin Hall. The president's residence, now the site of the Lowman Student Center, is in the background of the group photo taken in 1920.

Some of the pictures include groups of children from the university's demonstration school. "They wanted to have everyone associated with the campus community in the pictures," said Barbara Kevit-Mason, the university archivist, who cares for the historic photos.

Copies of the university's early group photos, as well as the most recent one, may be viewed in the University Archives, located in Room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library. A copy of the centennial panoramic photo is also on display in the SHSU Public Relations Office in Room 115 of the Administration Building.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Houstonian: Students endangered by 'high' radiation levels

From the Houstonian:
Are the residents of Sam Houston Village at a high risk of getting leukemia or brain cancer? Local entrepreneur and real estate mogul George Russell seems to think so.

According to Russell, the 138kv power lines running parallel to Sam Houston Village and Estill Hall along 16th Street are emitting dangerously high levels of electric and magnetic field (EMF) radiation that have potentially harmful, and even fatal effects.

"In recent years there has been substantiations from various scientific studies that indicate a much higher risk of childhood leukemia, adult leukemia, brain cancer, depression," Russell said. The EMF projected by these power lines is 875 percent higher than the "scientifically proven cancer risk threshold of .4 milligauss" and 17, 500 percent higher than the "prudent" safety level of .2 milligauss, he added. The EMF readings on the floors of Sam Houston Village and Estill Hall closest to the power lines are at 20 and 35 milligauss respectively. Russell also stated this danger could be easily avoided if the city would simply place all power lines underground.

"I have been very concerned and have attempted for 20 years to get the university concerned about the health and welfare of these children," Russell said, claiming the reason for the city and university's negligence as greed and apathy.

"They are interested in tuition and buildings with their name on plaques. Academics are usually the least important thing on their mind. They simply don't care about the health and welfare for their students."

However, SHSU President James Gaertner addressed Russell's accusations.

"There are certain codes and regulations that you have to follow, and we followed every regulation that was in front of us. I am absolutely confident that if the regulations constitute safety, then those dormitories are safe," he said. "Why would we do it? I cannot even fathom why we would put our students at risk. I care about the students and I would never put them [in danger]."

Granted, while Gaertner did not agree with Russell's claims, he did concede to putting into motion an investigation of the matter. "If he thinks that there is some kind of radiation being put out by those power lines, then we will certainly have it checked out," he said.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Houstonian: First floor of Education Center to be renovated

From the Houstonian:
The Teacher Education Center [TEC] of Sam Houston State University is planning on renovating the first floor by next year.

"We are very excited about it," said Dr. Mary Robbins, who is the chair of the Language, Literary and Special Populations Program.

According to the article in Today@Sam, "a preliminary plan for [the] $1 million renovation of the TEC was approved Friday by SHSU's board of regents."

Robbins feels "fortunate to have the university's support" and help in obtaining the money for the buildings renovation. According to Robbins, the TEC building was designed in the 1970s for programs that are no longer in existence. Two of the earlier programs, (Early Childhood Lab School and Young Childhood Special Education Lab School), are no longer offered at SHSU.

The renovation is estimated to begin sometime this spring, and should be finished before the end of summer. All of the work will be done indoors, so the construction team will not have to worry about facing obstacles such as bad weather.

The plans include adding five additional classroom spaces on the first floor. The first floor will be designed to get as much natural lighting as possible. "You feel like you are walking into a dungeon when you walk onto the 1st floor," said Robbins. She explains that half of the floor is underground. "It will be nice to have light," states Robbins. She confirms that the light setting on the 1st floor will also be updated.

Houstonian: Students voice concerns over crosswalk

From the Houstonian:
Looking both ways just isn't cutting it anymore, at least not for the 800-plus students who cross Sam Houston Avenue.

According to Student Government Association Senator Jason Plotkin, he has been receiving a large amount of complaints from students living in Sam Houston Village and Jackson-Shaver Hall who must cross over Sam Houston Avenue from 18th and 17th streets that feel the intersection is unsafe due to the brevity of the crossing lights.

"The problem is you have to cross the street twice just to get to Sam Houston Village," [Freshman Tiffany Hodges] said. "There's no button [for the crossing signal], you just have to wait until the light changes. They should fix the light to allow more people to cross so that people aren't running across."

Plotkin hopes through cooperation with City Councilman Mack Woodward and City Manager Kevin Evans that both short and long-term solutions will be found to this growing concern.

"Obviously [the number of students crossing that intersection] is a lot more than [we are] used to having at the intersection," said Woodward. "We're working to find some long term and short term solutions to this problem, but obviously you can't changes overnight." Woodward explained that one of the problems in dealing with a situation like this is in routing responsibility as Sam Houston Avenue is also Highway 75, thus putting it under the jurisdiction of not only the city but the state as well.