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)