Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bearkats Put Move On Hold

The Huntsville Item explains (Dec. 28, 2005) that the new fields for baseball and softball will open in February:
Things were pretty exciting around Sam Houston State before the start of the 2005 baseball and softball seasons in February.  After all, both teams were supposed to move into the new Bearkat Baseball/Softball Complex adjacent to Bowers Stadium. But when the time came, construction was behind schedule, and just like it had been done the previous 56 years, opening day for baseball was held at Holleman Field.

The date for the new complex to open kept getting pushed back for various reasons, and after the original home opener with Rice was canceled because of rain, it was moved to March 22 and there was talk the stadium could be opened for that game or the following weekend series against Texas-Arlington.

Then came April and still no new baseball/softball complex — and no idea of when it would be ready...the 2005 baseball and softball seasons at Sam Houston State came and went without the new facility opening.

According to [SHSU director of athletics Bobby ] Williams, rain was a major reason for many of the construction delays. Williams said the workers lost 14 days in March and 15 days in February because of wet weather. However, that was not the only problem.

Early on in the construction process, Williams said Turner Construction was responsible for the slow progress.

Back in April, the playing surface at the baseball field was nowhere near ready to play. The grass was put down in March and was still pretty loose. Another layer still had to go down on the field, and the infield and warning tracks still had to be built up to the level of the grass.

The softball complex was in a little bit better shape. The grass was put down early in January and had pretty much taken hold. But Williams said that the facility was still not close to being ready to play on, and because the Bearkats’ softball season ended the last weekend of April, they were not able to move in this year.

Neither Bearkat teams got to play a game in the new facility, so SHSU gave historic Holleman Field a well-deserved sendoff with a 6-3 win by the Bearkats over Nicholls State in the season finale.

The new baseball/softball complex was eventually finished and will be home of the Bearkats beginning in 2006.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Hottest Haunted Spots on Campus

Another in a series of ghost stories from Sam Houston State University, courtesy today’s Houstonian:
Austin College, now known as Austin Hall, has been here since 1879, making it the oldest building on campus. Many have claimed that a maid watches out the right hand far window on the third floor. Others say that it is a small boy. Some even say that Sam Houston walks the halls of the historic building. It has been said that a black Raven pecks at the same window that the ghost sightings have occurred....

This is not the only haunted building on campus. The University Archivist, Barbara Kievit-Mason, says that she has seen a ghost in the Peabody building a number of times. She used to work in the old library alone. Occasionally she would work with a student assistant, but most of her time was spent alone-- or so she thought. After the first appearance of the ghost, the visits became pretty regular. During the quiet work hours, the harmless spirit would simply appear. The spirit is that of a lady who appears to be from the early 20th century. She wears a long, black, high-line neck dress. Her face remains unclear. Kievit-Mason said that she assumes that the lady is one of the first librarians or professors....

Throughout the years, rumors have also evolved. A few stories that are often seen as fact have been proven to be false. It has been said that the when the old music building burned down that students and children were killed. Supposedly these people continue to linger around the new building, which is now the Evans Complex. Sometimes people say they can hear a random applause or laughing. This story is false. While some may hear unexplainable noises, no one was killed during the music building blaze.

Another false tradition is that someone haunts the Old Main Pit. There are no actual reported deaths in the Old Main building or the fire that engrossed the building.

Kievit-Mason says that there are plenty of stories that have been around for years and will continue to develop. "As far as I know, Tripod does not haunt this campus. Although, he should haunt the person that knocked over his head stone," she said.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Item: Vandals trash new baseball complex

From the Item:
Late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, the rivalry between the Bearkats of Sam Houston State and the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin heated up, when just hours before the Battle of the Piney Woods football game, the new baseball and softball fields of all places were vandalized with purple, white and red spraypaint.

The vandals gained access to the new fields armed with spraypaint in the Lumberjack colors and wrote “SFA” in the turf behind home plate at the baseball field and along the first-base line at the softball field.

As far as the recovery goes, Jason Barfield, athletic operations coordinator, said the officers at SHSU may be able to remove the spray paint, but first, they will need to make sure the incident did not kill any of the grass.

Although the fields were locked overnight, Barfield said there may have been other ways for the vandals to gain entrance to the fields.

What Would You Name This Dorm?

From the Houstonian:
[Students] can show off [their] creative juices and win a $100 gift certificate to the Barnes and Noble University bookstore if the name [they] enter for the Phase III housing project is chosen by the student body.

Why the Clock Has IIII and Not IV

Today@Sam tries to clear up why the clock on the new bell tower has a Roman inscription IIII - instead of IV. According to the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, manufacturer of the SHSU clock, the use of IIII was universally accepted when Roman numerals were used on dials. Furthermore, a study of Roman inscriptions surviving from the days when Rome controlled the British Isles shows that the Romans themselves preferred IIII to IV. IIII appears 87 percent of the time.

Also, SHSU has enjoyed the sound of tolling bells for a quarter century. In 1980 Robert Wright, a West Columbia High School and later University of Texas graduate who attended Army Specialized Training at Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1942, provided a donation to establish the Farrell-Wright Carillon, in honor of his parents. It was dedicated on April 13, 1980. The electronic bell system included eight speakers installed atop the Marks Administration Building and a keyboard console that could be played manually. It served the campus for almost 25 years and was moved to a nearby building when the Administration Building was renovated. In recent years it began having mechanical problems that became unrepairable.

Ruth and Ron Blatchley of College Station donated a clock with chimes that was installed in the Alumni Garden just west of the Lowman Student Center in 2003. They later provided a sizeable donation for construction of the Ruth and Ron Blatchley Bell Tower, that was dedicated on Oct. 15, 2005. The Blatchleys were students at Sam Houston State in the late 1960s.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Grave of Tripod vandalized

The Houstonian reports that the grave of Tripod has been vandalized. "On Monday, October 17, a student found the headstone on Tripod's grave knocked off its base and lying on the ground. UPD and the president's office were contacted for comment, but neither had heard any reports of the vandalism."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Looking Back At Hurricane Rita

From the Houstonian:
Evacuees of the Texas coastal region were placed inside Johnson Coliseum and [Academic Building Three] Dance Theater on the first night and the Health and Kinesiology Center was opened for more people on Friday morning. The Red Cross funded the entire relief effort, paying for blankets, food and multiple other services, but many volunteers were needed to help run the effort.

The first night only about 100 volunteers were present, but as the week progressed the number of volunteers ballooned to include a number of organizations, as well as National and State Guardsmen and women.

Despite a few minor conflicts in the Coliseum, the operation went quite smoothly in all three buildings. The Coliseum held 452 evacuees; AB3 held 206; and the HKC held 467.

The evacuees stayed from Wednesday, September 22 to the morning of Sunday, September, 26.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Houstonian: Smith-Hutson addition dedicated

From the Houstonian:
For a year and a half, the sounds of hammering and the smoldering smell of tar flooded the Mall area, all for the sake of the expansion of the Smith-Hutson building. The construction, now complete, yielded a large addition to the College of Business building and the university held a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday.

"I'd say about 300 [people attended]," Margaret Quarles, senior assistant to Dean Randal D. Lewis said, "We had a great turnout. The chancellor spoke and Dean Lewis gave us an introduction. Sponsors were given a brass key, symbolizing their contribution to education. Attendees received a commemorative coin that was minted especially for the occasion."

The project cost $8.3 million to build and doubled the size of the building, adding on 4,700 feet. The project added 900 additional classroom seats, 15 new classes, a new auditorium, 39 faculty offices, 2 department office suites, golf club learning lab, mailroom facilities and additional storage.

About the life of General Sam Houston

Today’s Houstonian looks back at the life and times of Sam Houston:
Sam Houston's family originally came from Scotland. Sir Hugh was a knight who was in the right place at the right time - he saved the King of Scotland and was given his own castle. Eventually, a town was built around the castle and they called it "Hugh's town," the roots of Houston.

Houston's grandfather came from Scotland through Ireland and then to the colonies. Once here, the family became one of the most well-known. Houston's father was patriotic and served in the continental army under George Washington. After the American Revolution, he stayed in the army as a major.

More of the article appeared in the Sep. 19, 2005 edition.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Houstonian: Sights around campus...

From the Houstonian:
Located in front of the art buildings, the Sculpture Garden contains permanent pieces from past students and current students temporary display their work for shows such as graduation.

The railings leading up to Art Building F were designed by the students of the 2001 Summer Session. The smooth forged steel railings are black with large spheres circled by rings.

A welded steel piece by Nancy Pfeifer sits on the lawn. "She used a lot of seedpod shapes and organic forms in her work," said sculpture professor Tony Shipp. Another steel piece, by Rick Rosebury, is a rustic boat figure held up by thin rod legs.

Also in the garden are two tire pieces. Inside both tires are metal pieces welded together in a spherical fashion. Shipp said that some of the metal pieces are from old stoves.

There are colorful, tile filled benches near by to sit and observe the art. Small stone walls outside the lawn are also filled with tiles. "They were created over the past eight years by students in a ceramic class who were learning about tiles and applications for them," said printmaking professor Kate Borcherding.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Houstonian: SHSU acquires Raven Nest course in deal to establish golf program

From the Houstonian:
Sam Houston State University's ever evolving campus has now added another 'appendage' to its repertoire, as it now owns the Raven Nest Golf Course.

Raven Nest Golf Course, built in May 2003, was bought by the university today to sponsor the Professional Golf Association affiliated Professional Golf Management program, which is beginning its first year at SHSU. PGM is a program for college students wanting to break out in the professional golf world in a variety of careers.

"This is the first year of the PGM program," sophomore Andrew Lewis, Professional Golf Management major said. "Our first meeting started on Monday and our first tournament is supposed to be on Sunday September 12 at noon. It's official school property on the first [of September] but we've been able to practice since the 24th."

The multi-tee course expands to 7,001 yards of green and is located on I-45 South near Montgomery Road.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Regents Approve Construction, Tuition Increase

Sam Houston State University regents Friday awarded a contract for a new 410-bed apartment style residential complex to be built at the southeast edge of the campus and approved a $10 per semester credit hour tuition increase effective in the 2006 spring semester.

The Board of Regents, Texas State University System, selected SpawGlass Construction Corp. of Houston for the $17.5 million project, which is expected to be started in September and completed in time for the 2006 fall Semester. James F. Gaertner, SHSU president, said the new housing will be built on a six-acre site formerly occupied by the Gintz family housing complex and Aydelotte and McCray Houses, all of which were built in 1961. The new complex will contain features of the Bearkat Village and Sam Houston Village apartments, which were built in the last three years and are popular with current SHSU students. Satisfaction with the new housing facilities is considered to be at least partially responsible for SHSU's projected fall record enrollment of more than 15,000.

In other business, the board approved a tuition increase of $10 per semester credit hour, purchase of new scoreboards for Bowers Stadium and Johnson Coliseum, a new weight room, an elevator for the stadium press box, an accessibility upgrade of the Gresham Library, and the 2006 holiday schedule. The Departments of Athletics and Recreational Sports are in the process of reviewing proposals for scoreboards, video boards, timing and message display systems at Bowers Stadium and in Johnson Coliseum, at a cost of up to $500,000. If funds are available for both, the installations would be made by Oct. 1 for the stadium and January 5, 2006 for the coliseum. The press box elevator will cost an estimated $800,000, with work to be done after this year's football season.

The weight room contract, with an estimated project cost of $1.2 million, and the library accessibility upgrade contract, with an estimated cost of $400,000, were both awarded to J & M Contracting Company of Huntsville. The weight facility will be a part of the new baseball/softball complex.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Houstonian: SHSU construction to aid growing university

From the Houstonian:
The 52,000 square foot addition to the Smith-Hutson business building is finished. It was completed at the end of May and will be in use this semester. It has 15 classrooms, 41 new offices and an auditorium seating 158.
"It's a really nice building," said John McCroskey, assistant director for facilities and construction.

Also, a project designed to expand the east plant chiller capacity has been finished. "The whole east side of the campus has grown so much that we had to add about 1,400 tons of chiller capacity for the air conditioners on the east side," McCroskey said. The project, which has cost the university about $2.5 million, was started in June of 2004.

The Estill dorm and Health Center renovations were completed as well.

Construction began last fall on Estill with improving the air conditioning and sprucing the building up with some minor "cosmetic" work. The dorm is open for residence again this fall.

The half million dollar Health Center renovation was completed in May after replacing all the air conditioning units and also doing "cosmetic" work.

The new chemistry and forensic science building is nearing completion. McCroskey said he expects that classes will be held in the building this fall, but that there will still be some construction going on. The 62,000 square foot building is part of a two-phase project for the science departments, with the other project being the renovation of the Farrington building. We've been renovating the second and third floors this summer and we'll take over the first floor and complete the renovation this fall," he said. The cost of both projects will total about $18 million.

The baseball/softball complex and the new addition to the Health and Kinesiology Center projects are also both scheduled to be finished by the end of this year.
"The baseball/softball complex is essentially complete except for some 'punch-list' items," McCroskey said.

The Recreational Sports building addition, which includes a swimming pool, a 10,000 square foot weight room and a 34-foot high climbing wall, has been a $6.7 million project. Originally supposed to be finished in time for the start of the semester, its completion date has been set back to about November, McCroskey said.

Students walking around beyond White Hall may notice the absence of the Ginz family housing and the McCray and Aydelotte small houses. All of those former residences have been demolished in preparation for new apartment-style housing.
"Both houses were pretty much ready for demolition anyway," McCroskey said. "They were falling apart."

The new residences, if the contract is approved by the Board of Regents, will house about 409 students and add about 150 new parking spaces. The $15 million project is expected to be completed by next August.

Finally, the last two major construction sites on campus are the sites of the alumni bell tower and the new visitors center. The 65-foot bell tower, which will stand outside the administration building, has been in the works for some time. The original concept of the alumni memorial was developed about two years ago.
"It took us awhile to get all of the financing," McCroskey said.
He said they will be striving to get the bell tower ready in time for Homecoming on October 8, but that it will be really pushing their abilities to get it done that quickly.

The $3.2 million visitors center project was started in March and will feature a large auditorium for prospective students and their families to gather in.
"The plan is to have the building ready in December. The contractor's making really good progress," McCroskey said.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Expansion of Health and Kinesiology Center at SHSU running behind

Information and an explanation about the construction of the new addition to the Health and Kinesiology Complex:
By Matt Pederson, Item Staff Writer

The walls are up, the pool has been laid and the boulder has been placed inside, but still there is a lot of work to be done at Sam Houston State's expanding Health and Kinesiology Center.

"The structural part of the pool has been installed and that still has to be finished," SHSU physical plant director Douglas Greening said. "The brick work on the outside is complete, as are the windows, so it's getting pretty weathered in."

With the building's shell complete, the landscaping, the interior and the furnishings still have to be taken care of.

"They have the whole outside to landscape or lay asphalt and concrete," Greening said. "They are still finishing Sheetrock on the interior, and there's a lot of inspection that needs to be done."

Although the building was scheduled to be completed by the time school starts this fall, Greening believes students will have to wait another semester before taking full advantage of the new services.

"I don't believe they're going to make an August completion. I think we're going to be looking more towards being ready for the spring semester," he said.

Physical plant assistant director John McCroskey said a majority of the setbacks came from a heavy spring rainfall. While rain would affect most projects to some degree, he said the HKC was especially affected because of its location.

"It sits in a little hole and all the rest of the campus drains to that site, so when it rains, all the water runs through the area they're working in," McCroskey said.

When the addition is complete, one of the most significant features will be a 10,000 square-foot weight room, complete with weight training, cardiovascular machines, circuit training machines, a 34-foot rock wall and a 12-foot boulder for students to climb on. The HKC's current weight room is just under 3,000 square feet, and SHSU recreational sports assistant director Kevin McKinney said its eventual purpose is undetermined.

"A nice feature with the new weight room is that we're going to have some natural lighting," McKinney said. "If you drive by and see a lot of glass, a lot of that is for the weight room."

The renovated area will also feature a swimming pool. While it will not be large enough for competitive swimming, the pool will have a number of recreational and intramural uses.

"With intramural sports, we can now offer some aquatic intramurals, which are at a lot of campuses," McKinney said. "One thing that is popular is called inner tube water polo.

"It (also) gives us the opportunity to do some other programming even on the fitness side, like waterobics and things like that."

While construction is going on in the building, it has not interfered too much with the day-to-day operations of the building. There have been a few minor inconveniences, though, such as the indoor track being temporarily closed.

"The reason the upper-level track is shut down is because you will be able to access the indoor track from the new side as well the old side, so they need to go in there and create some type of an entry," McKinney said. "There are also things like observation windows on the track, so when you're running, you'll be able to look down on the weight room and on the new side."

McKinney said the track should reopen in the next 11 to 12 days.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Regents Approve New Degrees, Apartment Plan

The first step toward four new degrees and preliminary plans for a new apartment-style housing complex were approved Friday by Sam Houston State University's governing body.

Preliminary plans for a new 400-bed apartment-style housing complex, prepared by PDG Architects of Houston, were approved. The $15 million facility will be similar to the Bearkat Village and Sam Houston Village projects and will be built on a six-acre site where the Gintz, Aydelotte, and McCray units are now located.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Remodeled Health Center To Reopen

The student health center at Sam Houston State University will be closed for two days Monday and Tuesday next week, but open again Wednesday in a newly remodeled, state-of-the art building at Ave. J and Bearkat Blvd.

For the past eight months the health center has been temporarily located in modular buildings in the Estill Hall parking lot, providing their full range of services in a smaller working area. The remodeled building is closer to students walking from the main parts of campus and will have visitor parking spaces.

The health center will now be equipped with a modern heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Students will have the opportunity to connect to high-speed wireless Internet while they wait for their appointments. The patient waiting room will be equipped with new furniture and a video monitor screen. The front office and nurses’ station have been streamlined to make healthcare operations more efficient and the flow of traffic smoother. Students will now be seen in warm and soothing examination rooms with new furniture. Plus, there are two extra examination rooms to allow for the addition of a new practitioner and additional office space to resume the peer education program.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Houstonian: Vandalism to blame for flooding, Res Life says

From the Houstonian:
Vandalism was the cause of the flood at Sam Houston Village that occurred early last Tuesday morning, said Residence Life Director JoEllen Tipton.

"The sprinkler was burned with an open flame and hit with an instrument of some kind, causing the system to set off," said Tipton.

Sam Houston Village residents were surprised around 3:30 a.m. on April 5 when the sprinkler system on the third floor discharged large amounts water from its sprinklers in rooms 337 - 341, causing the fire alarm to trip throughout the entire building.

Water then leaked through the walls in the affected rooms and poured down to the lower floors, causing extensive damage to the structure's walls, paint, cabinets, and flooring, as well as personal belongings in individual rooms.

An estimate on damage has not yet been made, but Tipton said the damage will cost the university well into the thousands. "And that's just what we have seen so far," she said.

Sam Houston Village opened in this past August and although it has had repeated problems with vandalism, some residents are not surprised at the recent flooding. Residence Life and the Physical plant are awaiting results from a pending report by the sprinkler's contracting company to determine further action, but Residence Life, Physical Plant, and UPD are working together to resolve this matter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Houstonian: Fewer parking spots open after Spring Break; shuttle needed

From the Houstonian:
While the student body spends their Spring Break partying, vacationing, or just sleeping in, the university itself doesn't sleep. Instead, construction will be in full effect for the parking lot next to the Estill classroom building.

"A portion of the administration lot, located south of Estill, will be converted into a construction site for the new visitor center," said Colonel Dennis Culak. "Over 70 parking spaces will be lost during Spring Break. To compensate for that loss, we're going to convert the two small lots west of the new science building and north of Chinese Express."

Additionally, to compensate for the commuters, the cost for parking in the garage will be lowered to a maximum of $3 for a day and $1 per hour. There will also be a shuttle running with a new route.

"The shuttle will pick up individuals in the stadium parking lot and exit onto Bearkat Boulevard and proceed west on Bearkat," said Culak. "Stops will be made at Bearkat Boulevard and Bobby K. Marks, Bearkat Boulevard and Avenue I, and Bearkat Boulevard at Belvin-Buchanan and Estill Hall. The bus will then turn south on University Avenue and 17th Street and then will enter University Drive. Stops will then be made at University Drive and Austin Hall steps and University Drive and Evans Complex and the Estill building.

The shuttle will then turn east on Bowers Boulevard and will stop at the intersection of Bowers Boulevard and Avenue J and make a final stop in front of the HKC building."

Construction for the Visitor's Center is estimated to last for over a year.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Houstonian: Students voice concerns over SHSU parking lots

From the Houstonian:
It's hard to imagine a campus issue more widely discussed among students than the parking situation at Sam Houston State. When walking from the commuter lots just north of AB IV, the sound of cars scraping bumpers on entrance and exit ramps has become as much a part of the environment as the sound of construction of the new science building. However, the inadequate conditions of campus parking lots are not central to one section of campus; it is an issue all over.

In a poll, 100 randomly selected students were asked if they felt that campus parking lots are in good condition, and 67 percent said they were not and felt the school could do more to maintain them. Poorly marked parking areas, low visibility, and potholes throughout the lots were among issues students voiced concern over.

Having a new parking garage that is unaffordable while conditions worsen in lots has students bothered as well. "I don't feel like they should have built a parking garage and charge students, but not fix other [lots]," said junior Lori Carter. The majority of students who feel that the parking lots are in poor condition feel that authorities need to pay more attention to the condition of the lots and more funding should go toward proper maintenance of them.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Houstonian: Brick dedication ceremony to honor first black student admitted to SHSU

From the Houstonian:
The president and vice president for Student Services and the office of student activities will have a commemorative brick dedication ceremony in the Alumni Garden today at 2 p.m. This event honors John A. Patrick, the first African-American student admitted to SHSU in 1964 and recognizes the importance of SHSU's history.

Although Patrick died, his family and friends from NAACP will give a speech about his accomplishments to the society and education

Tiffany Flenoy, program coordinator, expects this event will be something that has never done before at SHSU. She imagines people did not react positively to Patrick and Sam Houston State was aim for a higher education only for the majority of people at that time.

"He opened the door of the opportunity for the African-American students to attend school," said Flenoy.

Others recognize the importance of his remembrance. "As a black student at SHSU, we sometimes forget about our history," said Prince Myles. "I've never learned about him, but I can only imagine how difficult it was for him at that time. It gives me not only a sense of where I'm going, but also stuff to identify who we are."

Thursday, February 24, 2005

February 2005 Regents Report

Today@Sam identifies the construction and renovation projects  totaling over $42 million that were approved by the Texas State University System Board of Regents, including a bell tower, a new visitor's center, a performing arts center, and a new apartment-style residence hall:
"Basically the projects are just going into design," said John McCrosky, assistant director of facilities planning & construction. "The plan is to tear down small houses McCray and Aydelotte and guest apartments and put up new apartment style dorms. The new complex is going to try and have equal amount of parking spaces, hopefully more than 85% parking for residents. The housing building costs will total $15 million."

The bell tower is projected to be built in front of the administration building and has been budgeted up to $600,000.

"[The board of regents] approved it in the past and they just approved more money to be spent on it," said Frank Krystaniak, director of public relations. "A [contribution] was made by Ron Blatchley of College Station."

The performing arts center is expected to cover up to 75,000 square feet and will contain a concert hall, recital hall, rehearsal halls, practice rooms for individuals and ensembles, classrooms, dance studios, dressing rooms, a scene and lighting shop, computer lab for scene design and dance choreography, a recording studio and office space for faculty and staff.
"The visitor's center will go into construction on March 14th, over Spring Break," said McCrosky. "The total cost will be over $3.2 million."

Additional projects approved by the board of regents will include surveillance cameras for Sam Houston Village and a lowered cost for the Introduction of College Studies course.

What was approved?
  • $20 million for a performing arts center
  • $15 million for a student apartment complex
  • $3.3 million for visitor and alumni center
  • $917,000 for phase one design of a recreational area along the Trinity River
  • $900,000 for renovation of the Teacher Education Center's first floor design
  • $725,000 for renovations and elevators for the Bowers Stadium press box
  • $550,000 to design electrical and air conditioning modifications to Belvin Hall
  • $455,000 to replace the roofs on the Lee Drain Building and a portion of the Evans building

Friday, February 18, 2005

Regents Approve $42 Million in Projects

Steps toward construction and renovation projects totaling more than $42 million were approved for Sam Houston State University Friday by the university's board of regents.
  • The two biggest ticket items on the construction agenda were design contracts for a $20 million performing arts center and a $15 million student apartment complex. Both require additional action by the Texas higher education coordinating board. Watkins Hamilton Ross Architects of Houston was selected to design the performing arts center. With an estimated 75,000 square feet, it will include a concert hall, an adjoining recital hall, rehearsal halls, practice rooms for individuals and ensembles, classrooms, dance studios, dressing rooms, a scene and lighting shop, a computer lab for scene design and dance choreography, a recording studio, and office space for faculty and staff.
  • PDG Architects of Houston was selected to design the 400-bed student apartment complex, which will be built on the southeastern edge of the campus. The Gintz family apartments and Aydelotte and McCray houses, which have a present capacity of 124, are in poor condition because of age and will be removed. The university was authorized to take bids for the removal of those facilities at a cost of up to $240,000.
  • Award of a contract to Dudley Construction, Ltd. of College Station for construction of a $3.3 million visitor and alumni center, with construction to begin this spring and completion in about a year.
  • Employment of Land Design Studio of Austin for a $917,000 phase one design of a recreational area for students, faculty and staff on a 345-acre tract of land along the Trinity River;
  • Award of a contract to Collier Construction, Inc. of Brenham for a $900,000 renovation of the Teacher Education Center's first floor to provide space for the Language, Literacy and Special Populations program;
  • Employment of Lunce Hu Architects, Inc. of Houston to design elevators for the Bowers Stadium press box, to bring it into compliance with accessibility standards, with an estimated cost of $725,000;
  • Award of a contract with Dabhi Engineering Associates of Katy to design electrical and air conditioning modifications to Belvin Hall, with an estimated cost of $550,000;
  • Award of a contact to the W. A. Willis Company, Inc. of Austin to replace the roofs on the Lee Drain Building and a portion of the Evans building, at a cost not to exceed $455,000;
  • Approval of preliminary plans submitted by Dabhi Engineering for an emergency generator to protect university computer equipment in Academic Building 1, with a project cost of $350,000.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Houstonian: Temperature problems too deep to fix

From the Houstonian:
Students in the Dan Rather Communications Building and Evans complex may have noticed it has been a little cold in these buildings this week. Ronald Hendershott, SHSU's heating, ventilation and air conditioning foreman, explained these buildings, and others on campus, are on a low-pressure steam boiler system.

"The piping is extremely old, buried underground, and it's extremely hard to get to. The piping keeps breaking, which means I have to shut down everything," said Hendershott.

After shutting down the boilers, HVAC must wait 24 hours before they can go into the pipes. The tunnels contain asbestos and are heated with 250-degree steam. Hendershott said the size of the tunnels to be about four feet tall and about three feet in width.

"If the repair happens to be in an area where we don't have a man hole, then I have to make another one," he said.

Hendershott said it takes an average of eight hours to make the repairs themselves, and then another four to five hours to bring the system back.

"The piping that is in the ground is probably fifty years old," said Hendershott. The Estill, Administration, Farrington, and Jackson-Shaver buildings are all on the same system as Evans and Communications, but have auxiliary systems for back up. Hendershott said auxiliary systems would require more electricity than the Evans and Communications buildings could handle. Replacing the entire pipe system is not an option.

"We would have to dig up the whole campus...[it would be] an astronomical devastation to the campus."

The university will continue to try to fix the problems as they occur until the summer, when individual "package boilers" might be installed in the Evans and Communications building.