Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Campus Master Plan Open House

Sam Houston State University is embarking on a monumental journey that will establish the institution's physical signature for years to come. A comprehensive Master Plan is being initiated to study the campus' physical make up and to set future recommendations for guiding development on the campus. JJR of Ann Arbor, Michigan, campus planning specialists, in collaboration with local architects and engineers, will guide the planning effort.

President Gartner and his Cabinet are asking for the University community to provide input that will help identify critical issues that the planning consultant should consider. The comprehensive planning process will occur over the next 9 months and will address the campus' future physical organization, growth capacity, and image.

The first opportunity for students, faculty and staff to engage in the planning process will be on Wednesday, November 28 in the form of an open house. There will be two separate sessions held to capture the greatest participation. One session will be held over lunch from 11:00am to 1:00pm at the Lowman Student Center and the other will be in the evening from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Belvin-Buchanan Dining Hall.

During the informal event, participants will be asked to identify issues regarding parking, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, buildings and facilities, open space, and the surrounding community. The input received will aid the consultant team in identifying issues important to the University community.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Something about Henry Crawford

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the death of Henry Crawford, the longtime coach and administrator at Sam Houston State. Crawford attended Austin College in Sherman and made his way to Huntsville where he became part of the SHSTC Athletics Department, eventually rising to the position of football coach. Along the way he acquired the nickname “Molly,” as evidenced in the scholarships and residence hall that honor him, and pretty much every other time we see his name in print (as H.O. "Molly" Crawford).

The question begs: why Molly? Was it a family name? Was it early-19th century football slang (“he sure mollied that ball....”)? Was it an off-the-cuff epithet from a peer that stuck? Was it something mundane that really doesn’t matter all these years later?

We've asked around about it ourselves but the people we've questioned either 1) don't know themselves or 2) don't...uh... share our level of enthusiasm in the subject (yeah, that's it...).

Crawford is buried in Huntsville’s Oakwood Cemetery.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Today@Sam: Bearkat Plaza Opens

Today@Sam: Students took advantage of the mild fall weather Thursday afternoon by enjoying opening day of the new central campus plaza [more scenes] (photo credit: shsu).

Friday, November 2, 2007

Today@Sam: Bearkat Plaza Opening Soon

Today@Sam: Phase I of the central campus plaza is nearly complete and should be open for foot traffic about November 8. Some of its plants include red oak, willow oak, live oak, red maple, crape myrtle, Indian hawthorne, wax myrtle, camelia, Louisiana iris, butterfly iris, jasmine, and St. Augustine grass. Phase II of the project will be removal of the telephone building and additional landscaping, and is expected to start in August 2008 when the communication equipment will be transferred to the Humanities and Social Sciences Building (photo credit: shsu).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Construction Updates

Thursday's Houstonian [November 1, 2007] notes the impending completion of the expanded Mall area, on the former Frels-Wilson buildings.

Also, the SHSU Physical Plant page has been updated (though you wouldn't get that from the top of the page where it still says "April 2007") to include current (or mildly recent) photographs of construction:
  • Academic Building V ("Substantial Completion Date: September 2008")
  • Mall area ("Substantial Completion Date: October 2007")
  • Design of the forthcoming Performing Arts Center ("Substantial Completion Date: December 2009")
  • Plans for the new Agriculture Complex at Gibbs ranch
  • North dining facility ("Substantial Completion Date: December 2008")
Finally, one can view a few pictures of the Colony Apartments in an early stage of demolition. Also, the contents of the Telephone Services building (that unsightly holdover from the Frels-Wilson demolition) appear to be on the move to Academic Building One...? (I thought it was AB5?)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Visitor and Alumni Center Naming Ceremony

Alumnus John R. Ragsdale will be honored during 2007 Homecoming festivities in recognition of a $1.25 Million gift to the university. The recently completed Visitor and Alumni Center will be named for Ragsdale during a ceremony Saturday, October 20, 2007 at 10 a.m.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Item: Regent - Best facilities possible wanted for SHSU

Reporter Kristin Edwards writes that Texas State University System Board of Regents member Dora G. Alcala gave a special presentation Friday afternoon [October 5] as part of the Grassroots speaker series at Sam Houston State University.

As she addressed the audience in the Olsen Auditorium, which more than filled the available seating, Alcala discussed the merit of higher education, family values and work ethic.

“We on the board always want to see our students getting a very good education,” she said. “I know that’s happening here because of the university’s enrollment.”

In the short term, Alcala said the board hopes to maintain the best facilities possible at SHSU. “We want to make sure the students have the best facilities and a good learning environment,” she said. “I’d like to see them have a new music building, because we have a lot of music makers and they deserve the best facilities.”

Alcala served two terms as mayor of Del Rio and has received several state awards during her career. She was appointed to the board in July 2004 by Gov. Rick Perry.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

SGA to Discuss New Bills

Rachael Gleason reports in the September 4 edition of the Houstonian about some of the Student Government Association’s (SGA) proposed bills this semester, including one for a possible shuttle system and student safety on Sam Houston Avenue.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

SHSU To Unveil Recruiting Trailer At Tailgate Party

SHSU will unveil its new recruitment tool - a $127,000 interactive trailer - during tailgate festivities today [Thur. Aug. 30] in the parking lot of Bowers Stadium, reports the Item:
The 42-foot "Go Kats Go Center" was purchased using a grant from the Texas Pioneer Foundation. It will be used as part of a statewide campaign called "Closing the Gap," designed to increase college enrollment.

"The state initiated a program for all universities in Texas to start bringing in students from first-generation families," [SHSU Enrollment Management specialist Susan] Houston said. "They have certain numbers of students they hope to bring into college each year, and the 'Go Kats Go Center' is just a part of that campaign."

The $127,000 grant was used to purchase everything prospective students would need during the initial college application process. "We put in what we thought we would need for this, including a truck and a trailer, a satellite, computers and chairs for inside. We hope to build on it every year."

Houston said those utilizing the center would have access to 17 computers, satellite Internet access and televisions.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hotels Planned At SHSU Location

Construction of a project expected to benefit Huntsville and Sam Houston State University could start in early 2008, according to an August 23 Item article:

The Texas State University System regents have agreed to sell the property housing the SHSU Agriculture Center off Interstate 45 to K Partners Hospitality Group of San Antonio.

K Partners will pay $2.7 million for 13.28 acres and plans to build two hotels and a conference center.

Raven's Nest Golf Club will be accessible via a tunnel that runs under I-45 and connects the golf club with the agriculture center property.

The majority of the agriculture center’s operations has been moved from the I-45 location to the Gibbs Ranch off state Highway 75 North.

Frank Krystyniak, director of SHSU’s Office of Public Relations, said the regents have approved the property sale, but the deal will not be finalized until December.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

2007 State of the University Address

Campus construction was one of many topics discussed during SHSU President Jim Gaertner’s annual State of the University address Wednesday afternoon, reports Today@Sam:
Current areas of the university’s physical growth include the $2.25 million mall area extension, scheduled to be complete by October; new surface parking where the Colony Apartments are located will add 350 new spaces by November; the $30 million classroom and office building, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building (formerly AB5), is expected to be completed by this time next year.

Future construction projects that have been planned, some of which are awaiting approval by the Texas State University System Board of Regents, include a $7.25 million dining facility across from the Student Health Center, with construction expected to begin in May 2008; $35 million performing arts building for dance, music and theatre, with a 15-18 month construction anticipated to begin in the summer of 2008.

In addition, the university has sold the 13.2 acres where the university’s agricultural operations are currently located, across the highway from Raven’s Nest Golf Course, for new hotels and a conference center. By January 2009, Huntsville should have completed a new Fairfield Inn and a Garden Inn, both by Marriott, and a 7,000 square foot conference center with three new restaurants to be constructed on site. The agricultural facilities will be consolidated at Gibbs Ranch with a $2.5 million allotment to do so.

Finally, plans are being made for the finalization of the 2009-2018 Master Plan, “our blueprint for what should be done on this campus” that is anticipated to be completed by May 2008.

Friday, August 17, 2007

August 2007 Regents Report

During the recent meeting of Boards of Regents of the Texas State University System, the group approved changing the name of the Visitor and Alumni Center to the John R. Ragsdale Visitor and Alumni Center in recognition of the gift of $1.25 million from Ragsdale, a 1959 graduate.

The regents also approved changing the name of Academic Building V, which is under construction, to College of Humanities and Social Sciences [Building]. At a cost of $30 million and with 150,000 square feet of space, it will be the largest academic building on campus and is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2008.

Other building news included the relocation of the university's telecommunications operations at a cost of $4.2 million. The equipment, including phone, computer and Internet functions, is currently located in the small building on the edge of the university's new landscaped mall area between the student center and Lee Drain Building (think the small, northern half of the old post office). The relocation of these functions will be completed by July 1, 2008, so that the building can be demolished and the mall area completed. With that exception, the mall is scheduled for completion early this fall.

In other news, Sam Houston State University President James Gaertner will give his annual state-of-the-campus message Wednesday, August 22 in the Criminal Justice Center Killinger Auditorium.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Today@Sam: Organ Donors

The 113-year old organ from Old Main has resurfaced....

I actually saw the organ in the museum rotunda ten years ago or so, and I guess I was partly excited because this was something tangible that had a direct association with Old Main. Of course, one of my instructors had taught in the Main Building, too, and could have been considered an artifact of a different sort but it just wasn’t the same. During my campus visit July 4, I happened to peek in the windows of the Peabody to see the now-emptied building full of life as people bustled about in front of the massive instrument.

At any rate, the organ is back and will be taking up residence in the Peabody Library following a dedication ceremony Friday, August 3 at 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Gravesite of Bernard Mallon

For reasons not immediately clear, I found myself this afternoon thinking of Bernard Mallon, the university president (or principal, as the office was then) who went down in university lore as the first man to hold the position and the first to die in office. His tenure was all of eleven days, October 10 to 21, 1879.

Now I know I’m late in marking the milestone, but I didn’t recall seeing any fanfare a few years back about the 125th anniversary of his death. Granted a death is hardly a cause for celebration and it’s not like much happened during his momentary administration (except for presiding over opening-day ceremonies, which was what the whole 125th anniversary was about, I suppose).

Anyway, I’ve never seen much more about the guy except that he was big in the Atlanta, Georgia public schools before his Huntsville debut. Wasn’t sure about his birth place or year, where he was buried, or that sort of thing.

Now we know: Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta. A shaft of Italian marble was erected by the teachers and students of the Atlanta school system in honor their first superintendent, one which notes he was born in Ireland on September 14, 1824. Mallon first arrived in Georgia in November 1848 and stayed in the school system until August 1879. History notes his 800-mile move west to Huntsville and his death mere months later, in October.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Item: $30M project heads SHSU construction

Rachael Gleason reports in the June 2 edition of the Item of some of the upcoming changes to the campus. Some of the highlights:

  • The renovation of the mall area started December 2006 with the demolition of the Wilson-Frels complex. Construction in the area began May 2007. The projected completion date of the $2 million mall area renovation is September of this year.“We hoped that we would finish before school started, but we had a late start due to rain,” [Physical Plant Assistant Director John] McCrosky said.
  • He [McCrosky] also said the school is in the planning stage for a $35 million performing arts center for the music, dance and theater programs as well as a new $7.5 million dining facility.
  • A 300-space parking lot is also in store for the campus.
  • Construction on Academic Building V, which will be one of the largest buildings on campus, started several weeks ago with the prep work for the building’s foundation on land east of the Lee Drain Building. The Board of Regents have yet to choose a name for the new building, but McCrosky said the name will likely be called the humanities & social sciences building. The expected date of completion for Academic Building V is September 2008. According to McCrosky, the building will likely be open for classes in Spring 2009.
  • In addition to the construction projects that are already under way, SHSU plans to revise a 10-year master plan for future undertakings.

How odd! The Squad gets the Nod for new Sod

Installation began Monday, May 14 for the new artificial playing surface at Bowers Stadium. The Bowers Stadium playing surface renovation has been awarded to Hellas Construction for installation of RealGrass turf.

Once [the old turf is removed], the workers will patch up any blemishes on the asphalt foundation beneath the field before installing the new artificial surface. [SHSU Athletic Director Bobby] Williams said the entire process should be completed by August 1, just in time for football season.

“They showed up today and went straight to work,” Williams said. “Once they peel off the old turf, they have to peel off the pad underneath. Then they will see if there is any base work that has to be done because there is an asphalt base on the bottom. If there isn't any patching to be done then that could speed up the process.”
Once everything is completed at Bowers, Williams said they will begin to look into facility upgrades at Johnson Coliseum.

Photo credit: SHSU athletics (May 21, 2007)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Today@Sam: College To Break Ground On New Home

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences will celebrate the groundbreaking of its new home, Academic Building V, on June 8.

The ceremony, which is scheduled to include addresses by a representative from the Texas State University System Board of Regents, CHSS dean John de Castro and university president Jim Gaertner, will be held at 9 a.m. at the construction site east of Lee Drain Building and south of the Smith-Hutson Annex.

A reception will follow the ceremony at the site, and the entire event is open to the public.

The tentatively-named Academic Building V will house several departments and offices currently in need of additional space due to the recent expansion of the university, according to CHSS associate dean Terry M. Thibodeaux.

Relocating to ABV will be the departments of political science, psychology, and sociology and the college dean’s suite, as well as Accounts Payable, the Business Office, Human Resources, Payroll and Purchasing. The Student Advising and Mentoring Center, currently in need of additional space to meet the increasing demand for their services, will also relocate into larger quarters, Thibodeaux said.

A new teaching enhancement center will be housed on the concourse floor, providing various services and programs for faculty and staff of the entire university.

The building, designed by WHR Architects, Inc., and to be constructed by SpawGlass Construction Corp., has a budget of $30 million and will be approximately 150,000 square feet, making it one of the largest buildings on campus, Thibodeaux said.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Name Remains the Same

House Bill 1418 passed Tuesday, May 22, 2007 in the Texas Senate. The bill, co-authored by state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst and sponsored in the Senate by Steve Ogden, now awaits the signature of Governor Rick Perry who has 10 days to sign the bill before it becomes law.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

More Game of the Name

An update on the game of the name: SHSU Student Government Association President Christopher Whitaker addresses the Bearkat nation about House Bill 1418 (originally aired on KSHU Channel 7 on April 26, 2007).

Monday, April 30, 2007

In Memoriam: Ralph Spencer

Ralph D. Spencer, the designer and author of the SHSU Master Plans, which have been implemented for present and future growth at the University, died April 29.

Spencer attended Tarleton State University and Texas Tech University, where he earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1951; he later practiced his career in Lubbock, Austin, and Huntsville, Texas. Over his 56 years of practice, he designed and completed many educational and institutional projects across the State of Texas, including, for Sam Houston State University, the Lee Drain Building, Evans English Building, Music II, and the Farrington Science Building renovations.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Baseball Stadium Naming Ceremony

Sam Houston Athletics will have the formal naming ceremony for Don Sanders Stadium this Saturday, April 28. Following a special pregame dedication ceremony, Don Sanders, the Houston entrepreneur and philanthropist who has donated $1 million to establish an endowment fund to enhance the baseball program at Sam Houston State, will throw out the first pitch at 2 p.m.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Today@Sam: Former ‘Country Campus’ To Receive Historical Marker

A ceremony to place a historical marker on the property once owned by Sam Houston State University and known as the Country Campus is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, April 27.

The marker will commemorate the site as one of the first prisoner of war camps built in the United States During World War II. The event is sponsored by the Texas and Walker County historical commissions.

The plaque that will be placed at 3299 Highway 19 reads: "Camp Huntsville was one of the first prisoner of war (POW) camps built in the U. S. during the war. On this site on September 18, 1942, construction was completed. Built to house 3,000 POWs, the camp had more than 400 buildings. The first POWs, members of Germany's Afrika Korps, arrived in the spring of 1943. By October of that year the camp's population peaked at 4840. As a large base POW camp it administered eight branch camps.

“Late in the war, Huntsville's status changed and it became a branch camp for Camp Hearne. In September 1945, the camp's German POWs were sent to Camp Hearne in preparation for the arrival of a small group of Japanese POWs before their return to Japan.

"The camp closed on January 5, 1946. Later that year the government transferred more than 800 acres and 405 buildings to Sam Houston State Teachers College for use as a Country Campus."

The property is now privately owned.

In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held at the Country Campus Baptist Church.

Today@Sam: Reception To Officially Open Visitor, Alumni Center

The Visitor Center and Alumni Relations offices will show off their new home on Friday, April 27 during the Visitor and Alumni Center grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m.

University president Jim Gaertner, Alumni Relations director Charlie Vienne and Visitor Center director Joey Chandler will speak at 4:30 p.m., when the ribbon cutting ceremony with the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce will be held.

The come-and-go reception, which will be held until 5:30 p.m., will include ice cream and other refreshments, music and an appearance by Sammy the Bearkat.

In addition, the first 300 people will receive free gifts.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

On-campus Graffiti Trend

As you’d expect, being passionate about the buildings of Sam Houston State University means you aren’t thrilled about graffiti appearing on said buildings, as noted in the Houstonian:
The Huntsville Police Department has recently become aware of a noticeable trend of on-campus property damage. The mischief has taken place primarily in the form of graffiti, drawn on several different buildings.

On March 31, according to a press release from the University Police Department, an officer was dispatched to Baldwin House in reference to graffiti that had been spray painted on an exterior wall.

Then on April 1, an officer was dispatched to the Lee Drain Building in reference to "criminal mischief," which also ended up being a piece of graffiti painted on the walkway between the Lee Drain Building and the Farrington Building.

Finally on April 4, while patrolling in the 2300 block of Avenue M, an officer observed that graffiti had been spray painted on a door at Holleman Field, a baseball field currently used for SHSU Club Sports.

According to Captain Kevin Morris of the University Police Department, the graffiti found has included "the anarchy symbol," and the phrases "This is Art" and "Before I Awake."

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Dangerous Crosswalk Stirs Up Controversy

One of the more unattractive intersections on campus is the interchange of Bowers Boulevard and Avenue I. This article by Linda Wollard from the April 3 edition of the Houstonian highlights the crosswalk a block west (between Academic Building Three and the Science Building) but discusses the road in whole.

With one major student-hazard area located in between the Forensic Science and AB3 buildings, a crosswalk is present, with of course a yield sign, where students become unsuspecting target practice by the motorists that speed by. According to Mark Shiflet, Safety Coordinator for SHSU, this particular road is not owned by the university, but by the city of Huntsville. Shiflet says this area is also not up to code since no stop sign is present.

"If there is a crosswalk, there is supposed to be a stop sign or a light," Shiflet said. "This area is not permissible by law." Shiflet says that a few of the roads on campus that are usually dead-end roads are owned by the university while majorities are owned by the city.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

February 2007 Regents Report

Design documents for a new $30 million home for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences were approved Friday by Sam Houston State University's governing body, according to Today@Sam.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents took the action during a meeting held in Austin. Construction [on Academic Building Five] is expected to begin this spring with an estimated completion date of fall 2008.

The 150,000 square foot building will also house additional faculty offices as well as other academic and administrative functions, including Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Business Office and Human Resources. It will be located in the area south of the Smith-Hutson Business Building and east of the Lee Drain Building.

The regents also approved a total project cost not to exceed $1.825 million for mechanical renovations to the Belvin-Buchanan dorm, which was built in 1936. After plans were prepared for the project and a cost initially approved, it was discovered that additional work of up to $250,000 in cost was needed. That project is expected to be completed this summer.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Game of the Name

Texas House Representative Lois Kolkhorst has filed the two House Bills: HB1418, relating to the name of Sam Houston State University; and HB1419, relating to a prohibition against changing the name of a public institution of higher education that is named after a state historical figure.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Time Capsule: 1982

February 12, 1982: Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fire that destroyed the 92-year-old Main Building, severely damaged the roof of the Austin College Building, and drastically changed the skyline of Huntsville.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Baseball Stadium named to honor Don Sanders

SHSU reports that the one-year old baseball stadium will be renamed in honor of Don Sanders, a Houston entrepreneur and philanthropist who recently donated $1 million to establish an endowment fund to enhance the baseball program at Sanders' alma mater.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

A New Year, A New View

Today@Sam: Not much was left of the Wilson and Frels Apartments late Wednesday as their removal continued. Construction is expected to begin soon on a mall/commons expansion and consolidation project (photo credit: shsu).