Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Around Huntsville

The Huntsville Item notes the growth around the SHSU as #6 in the top 10 Stories of 2010:
Among the milestones the university celebrated this year: a new president, Dana Gibson, who has said she intends to continue policies and programs initiated by James Gaertner; an increase in campus and online enrollment, growth on its satellite campuses in The Woodlands and Tomball; a basketball team that won the Southland Conference championship, and the grand opening of a performing arts center for its new College of Fine Arts and Mass Communications.

SHSU also has been stepping up its game in research and development as well. In 2010, SHSU patented a potentially life-saving wastewater treatment purification process that university officials hope will save millions of lives.

It also managed to raise $62 million in funds during its first ever Capital Campaign, exceeding its goal of $50 million.
The Hometown USA series of the Los Angeles Times features Huntsville:
The prison system is one of the biggest employers in Huntsville (note to the unemployed: they're hiring), and practically everyone in town falls within a couple degrees of separation from someone who makes a living at a prison.

Still, many bristle at how death row has shaped the identity of Huntsville to outsiders. They point to Sam Houston State University, which has about 17,000 students, and the school's namesake, who was governor when Texas became a state and president when it was a republic.
Also, some information about the containment of Town Creek :
For years now, the City of Huntsville has had staff and City Council members brainstorming on a plan to fix Town Creek drainage issues. A newly received grant may be able to kick-start the process of replacing areas of the Town Creek drainage system that are currently old railroad cars that are rusting and falling apart.

“There are places where it has flooded so much we’re getting holes in the roads,” she said. “Back in the ‘60s, Town Creek was open. They decided to put in decommissioned railroad tanker cars and they welded them together and used rubber from old tires to seal them. Now, they’re starting to rust out.”

Areas along Bearkat Boulevard by the university are well-known in Huntsville as places to avoid during heavy rainfall because of flooding.

“You get one inch of rain and Bearkat floods,” McKibben said. “That’s the problem right there in a nutshell. Every time it does that, it messes with the roads and then we have to go fix the roads.”

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Northside Hall Named “Lone Star”

The December 2 edition of the Houstonian announces that the new north-side residence hall scheduled to open for the Fall 2011 semester will be known henceforth as Lone Star Hall:
The name of the new building was decided on by students who participated in a campus-wide online vote that included four prospective names, all of which were pre-approved by President Dana Gibson.
This student-naming trend follows similar campaigns used for Raven Village and the SouthPaw Dining Hall.  The article also mentioned that Sam Houston Village and Raven Village will open to all student classifications for the next school year:
There will no longer be any all-freshman dorms with the exception of both Vick and Randel houses, which are designated for the freshmen Bearkat Learning Community. Several reasons account for this change, Joellen Tipton, Director of Residence Life, said.
"We realized, over the years, that a large building housing only freshmen doesn't work for building a community. Freshmen are more rowdy, and there tends to be more vandalism and wear-and-tear on the rooms," she said. Tipton also said that living in Sam Houston Village isolates freshman socially because they are less likely to interact with other students on campus or attend on-campus events.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Donation to library to honor Virginia Gibbs Smyth

The Huntsville Item reports the funding of "The Gathering Place" at the renovated and expanded Huntsville public library in memory of Virginia Gibbs Smyth:
The donation was by Mrs. Smyth’s children, Joseph P. Smyth, Mary Katherine Smyth Basquin, Virginia Smyth Low, and the First National Bank of Huntsville. The Gathering Place will be exactly what the name implies, a place where people come together near the front of the library and will be a focal point in our new space. Virginia Gibbs Smyth was the eldest child of Dr. James Philip Gibbs and Mary McAshan Gibbs. She was the great granddaughter of Sam Houston State College’s (now SHSU) second president, H.H. Smith.

During her long and generous life, Mrs. Smyth made many contributions to educational and children’s programs in Huntsville. She furnished the children’s reading room in the original public library in memory of her sister Sarah and gave a valuable ornithology collection to the library in memory of her father. SHSU has several scholarships within the College of Criminal Justice, the English department, and Journalism division given by Mrs. Smyth in memory of her parents and brother James Philip Gibbs Jr. An endowment in the Library Sciences division was established in her name by her son. In spite of the many years she spent in New York City, Mrs. Smyth never forgot her heritage in Huntsville. The Huntsville Public Library Friends are thrilled to be able to place the name of Virginia Gibbs Smyth in a central place within the library and the city which meant so much to her thanks to her children and the First National Bank of Huntsville’s gift of $20,000.

November 2010 Regents Report

Today@Sam reports on the recent Texas Sate University System Board of Regents meeting held November 19:
A revision of plans for a proposed building near Bowers Stadium was among the items approved by the...Board of Regents....

The building was originally designated as an alumni center. However, upon programming phase completion in October, it was changed to an event center when the need for an on-campus facility to accommodate university events, athletics sales and marketing, learning enhancement, and alumni relations was documented. The project will now go into the design phase.

The regents also approved adding a new Continuing Education and Small Business Center to the list of projects in SHSU’s capital improvements program. The facility will be located on university property at 13th Street in Huntsville.

Tuition will increase from $163 to $171 per semester credit hour, effective fall 2011. The increase was proposed to provide funds for the increasing costs of salaries and benefits for faculty promotion and tenure adjustments. In addition, the increase will help fund new nursing and allied health program costs, criminal justice growth, the new College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication, and general engineering initiatives.

Sam Houston State University Distinguished Alumnus Charlie Amato of San Antonio was named chairman of the TSUS Board of Regents. Amato has served as vice chairman of the board during the past year. He replaces Ron Blatchley of Bryan, also an SHSU graduate, who completed his term.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sam Houston Moved This Historic Cabin

The Item reports on the building that recently was transported 40 miles to take up permanent residence on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum grounds:
Bear Bend is the name given to the old hunting cabin which was moved from Montgomery County where it has resided in two separate locations since at least the 1840s.

Patrick Nolan, director of the museum, said the cabin is an impressive part of Sam Houston’s history. “In the 1840s and 1850s, Sam Houston would go bear hunting here...that’s the legend. We found a quote in a book that said there was a bend in the creek near the cabin and they would drive bears into that bend." The cabin’s construction is unlike any other period structure available for viewing on the museum grounds. "It’s a two-story double pen log cabin. There are four rooms in two segments to the building connected by a breezeway."

For moving purposes, the cabin’s roof, chimneys and porches were taken off and moved separately. Over the next few months, inmates from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will work to restore the cabin to its original form.

Originally, the cabin was located in Montgomery County near the Walker County line near a U-shaped bend in Atkins Creek. A couple named Carroll and Mae Tharp began collecting old structures and moving them onto a property they called “Fern Land.” This cabin was moved from its original site to Fern Land, along with two other cabins, a frame house and a blacksmith shop. The entire grouping was later donated to Sam Houston State University. All total, the property had buildings moved from Montgomery, Walker and Angelina counties.

“Over 40 years, they had developed these structures into a grouping in the woods that had a pioneer feel to it,” Nolan explained. “The university spent a number of years trying to figure out how to best deal with the issue (of the five buildings).

“It was 40 miles away. There was no infrastructure on the grounds and no parking,” he added. “To make it publicly available would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. A number of people in the city of Montgomery began working a deal where the university would lease the cabins to the people in Montgomery and they would be moved to a different site.”

In return for four of the buildings remaining in Montgomery County, the city of Montgomery paid to have “Bear Bend” moved to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Writing on the Wall #8

It’s time for another look-see around campus. Can you identify the building or location where we took the photo for our scavenger hunt?:

And still yet another haiklu:

Never flitting visitors
Holy fields sliced by yon warriors
For those are not eggs

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Breaking Ground on University Center

The Houstonian reports SHSU broke ground for its new University Center on Friday, October 22: "The new University Center building will be a four-story, 144,164 sq. ft.-structure that will include classrooms, labs, enrollment counseling and advising and administrative services, as well as a parking lot and a five-story parking garage."

SHSU shares the current University Center in the Woodlands with the University of Houston, Texas A&M University, the Lone Star College System and the private sector. "The only difference [with the new building] will be that we will own this building," Richard Elgsaer, Ph.D., associate provost, said.

The Woodlands Villager News adds the $40 million building will be on seven acres adjacent to the LSC-University Center. The acreage was deeded to SHSU by LSCS with the agreement that LSCS can use 50 percent of the classrooms and free parking from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the next 10 years. Then SHSU will allow LSCS to use 25 percent of its classrooms and parking for free for the following 10 years.

The Conroe Courier News reported October 16 that SHSU's construction site will put a close to the existing childcare facility at Lone Star College-Montgomery. That facility is closing December 17. “Unfortunately, the land best suited for [the SHSU] expansion is where the childcare center is,” said Steve Scheffler, LSC-Montgomery dean of college relations. “We’re working on a plan to continue providing child care for our students, just not at that location.”

Monday, October 4, 2010

SHSU To Formally Dedicate Starr Theatre

Today@Sam reports that the University Theatre Center’s Mainstage Theatre will officially be designated as the Erica Starr Theatre during an unveiling ceremony on October 9. The theatre is named for the late Erica Starr Czerwinski (1979-1999), a theatre major who was killed by a drunk driver.

Scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. with an unveiling of the outdoor signage, the dedication will include comments by Jaimie Hebert, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dana Nicolay, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Penny Hasekoester, theatre department chair; and the Czerwinskis.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Remembering SHSU: Kenneth Hestand

Kenneth Hestand is a 1957 graduate of Sam Houston State Teachers College; as a student he was a member of the Sam Houston marching band, ROTC, and served on the Alcalde staff. Following a brief stint of graduate school at the University of Missouri, Hestand joined the U.S. Army where he traveled from coast to coast and overseas. After retiring from the army, he began work with the offshore oil well drilling company, Sedco, Inc. He retired in 1998 and now resides in the Fort Worth area.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

SHSU to build facilities in The Woodlands

Sam Houston State University will begin construction in October on the first of two structures on land deeded to the university last year by Lone Star College-Montgomery, the Houston Chronicle reported. The university is expected to break ground on a 750-space parking garage this October. Three months later, it will begin the construction of a $35 million, 100,000-plus-square-foot academic building. The new buildings, which cover seven acres of land, will take about 18-20 months to construct and be owned and funded by the university. They have been designed to blend in with the existing environment at Lone Star's Montgomery campus, which is located at 3200 College Park Drive, north of The Woodlands.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

2010 State of the University Address

Dr. Dana Gibson, the new president of SHSU, told faculty and staff Thursday (Sept. 2) in her first-ever State of the University address that while budget cuts loom in the immediate future, she also sees “the need and the opportunity” to add new degree programs, build new facilities to house them and recruit more students. Today@Sam has some of the highlights, including:
Gibson said the top priorities for new facilities include biology, nursing and applied health, forensic sciences and the agriculture complex and building. In terms of new academic programs, Gibson said “we must continue to develop appropriate graduate and doctoral programs and emphasize research activity to emphasize our Carnegie Classification of Doctoral Research status and to develop more programs in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health.

“These programs are desperately needed by the state so state and research funds tend to follow them.” Gibson said she sees “tremendous opportunities” for enrollment and revenue growth in The Woodlands and in online course enrollments. “Graduate and non-traditional students will be key populations for The Woodlands campus.”

SHSU plans to begin construction on a new classroom buildings in The Woodlands near Lone Star College “later this calendar year.” SHSU is already serving hundreds of upper-division and graduate students in a classroom building it shares with Texas A&M University and Texas Southern University. “The Woodlands Campus will provide us with an increased ability to diversify our student population, which will help us through tough economic times and optimize our strength in better times,” Gibson said.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Performing Arts Center Named in Honor of Gaertners

Today@Sam reports that the Texas State University System Board of Regents have announced the naming of the university’s new Performing Arts Center in honor of outgoing President James Gaertner and his wife, Nancy.

Speaking on behalf of the board, Regent Trisha Pollard, of Bellaire, said, “When the board considered the question of naming this magnificent performing arts center this summer, it was clear that it should be named in honor of Jim and Nancy Gaertner because they have done so much for this university and community over the last nine years. This center will impact students and lovers of the arts of the present, as well as young people in future generations who may have never heard a violin or cello in their lives.”

The James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center has its grand opening on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.

City Approves Extension of Raven Nest Lease

The Item reports [Aug. 18] that the Huntsville City Council unanimously approved a five-year extension with SHSU on the lease on Raven Nest Golf Course:
City Manager Bill Baine recommended the council approve the five-year extension of the lease on the 18-hole golf course, operated by the university’s PGA golf management program, at its last regular meeting Aug. 3. Council members at that meeting discussed issues associated with the lease, such as fixing drainage problems that have plagued the course.

Approval of the lease was originally a consent item on Tuesday night’s agenda, but council member Lanny Ray asked that it be open to further discussion, saying he wanted to mark the significance of the decision. Ray also said he supported the notion, also discussed at the council’s last meeting, that SHSU would buy the golf course outright to retire the debt associated with its construction “so we can continue our philosophy of retiring debt.”

In response to concerns that the lease extension would prompt new and unexpected expenses for repairs to the golf course, Baine assured council members that he would bring to them requests for funds that exceeded the city’s $30,000 cap on spending without council approval. City Attorney Leonard Schneider suggested adding the spending cap to the motion to approve the lease extension. Major J. Turner said the spending cap was already in place and would be superfluous to the motion.

Baine also reassured council that SHSU President Dr. Dana Gibson was willing to discuss construction of a downstream retention pond.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Performing artists claim new 100,000-square-foot facility

Monday's [Aug. 9] Item reveals that SHSU took ownership of its new new $38.5 million and nearly 100,000 square foot center Performing Arts Center last week:
The university is preparing to celebrate the public opening of the expansive new performing arts venue Sept. 30.... The center will offer a season full of performances this fall, including a concert by the Houston Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 29.

The building’s centerpiece is an 800-seat concert hall with a well-equipped dance theater seating 160 and recital hall seating 175 nearby.

The new building features a spacious central lobby featuring original public art. SHSU commissioned seven installations for the building, including a hanging sculpture by well-known artist James Surl, who earned his bachelor’s degree at SHSU and is currently exhibiting at Rice University in Houston. Other art and artists include a glass bas relief by Kathleen Ash, a hanging lighted glass sculpture by Jason Lawson, photo collages by Joe Akers and Rebecca Finley, and sculptures by Tim Prentice and Charles Pebworth.

The center also features an outdoor performance area, practice rooms for dance and music, faculty offices, a costume shop and a high-bay space to build sets for theater productions.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Program To WASH Up In New Facility

Today@Sam reports that the SHSU art department will celebrate the opening of its newest building, the Workshop in Art Studio and History Facility, on Thursday, August 26:
The grand opening for the 6,000 square foot building will be held from 5-7 p.m. at its new location, 2220 Avenue M, south of 22nd street.

In its third year, the WASH program is comprised of nine hours of foundational classes, including six hours of studio art and three hours of lecture, that art majors and minors take as a block.

The growth of the program, along with the photography program moving to the art buildings, has also created the need for a separate facility. The WASH program was previously housed in a rented building on Highway 75.
For those curious, the former location of the WASH program has become Center Stage Dance Productions , as revealed in a July 23, 2010 Item article:
The new studio, located at 7040 Highway 75 South, will include two rooms where classes will take place. The first is 700 square-feet while the larger is 1,700 square-feet...the building previously served as the WASH art facility for SHSU....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Council looking at Raven Nest lease

From the August 4 Item:
Discussion Tuesday night on the prospect of renewing the city’s lease with Sam Houston State University on Raven Nest Golf Club gave way to public recognition of the positive and productive partnership still developing between the university and the city.

The Huntsville City Council expects to consider renewal of the lease of the 18-hole golf course at its meeting in two weeks. Tuesday night, City Manager Bill Baine recommended council members renew the five-year lease on the facility, which was constructed by the city and is leased to SHSU, which operates the course and cafe. Baine told council members that SHSU intended to review purchase of the golf course and that the university was losing money on the venture by covering the $250,000 debt service associated with its construction.

Council members expressed concern over the cost and appropriateness of fixing drainage issues on the property, caused at least in part by development in the Lake Road area, and asked for reassurances from City Attorney Leonard Schneider that the lease they will consider is both “legal” and “smart” for the citizens of Huntsville.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Building a Mystery: Nutria House

We’re curious if anyone has any memories of the Nutria House (perhaps officially known to some as the Animal Sciences Lab)  that appears to have existed as part of the Horticulture Center off College Farm Road (Avenue M). There’s mention of it in the Campus Master Plan that was published in 1982 and we’ve come across one photograph of a grayish metal structure labeled "Nutria"; the building looks to be on its last leg and probably was razed shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Upcoming Events

As noted on the website of the Office of the President:

Teacher Education Center - Building Dedication & Naming in Honor of Eleanor and Charles Garrett [News]

Performing Arts Grand Opening
  • What: Ceremony, followed by reception, tours and performances
  • When: Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Where: Performing Arts Center

Today@Sam also notes Dr. James Gaertner will be the commencement speaker for graduation ceremonies occurring Saturday, August 7, 2010.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Historical Buildings Ready for Move

The Conroe Courier reports on the movement of four historically-significant structures from the woods to a "place of public prominence":

After months of planning and preparation, the first of the vintage buildings that will be showcased in Montgomery’s new Fernland Historical Park is scheduled to be transported to the facility this week.  Montgomery officials approved $430,000 in expenditures – including $140,000 for moving the structures – over the next two years to create the historical park featuring early Texas buildings to be an educational resource and to encourage tourism.

Four of the five buildings come from Fernland, a  40-acre parcel of land donated to Sam Houston State University by Carroll and Mae Tharp. Dating back to the 1820s, the structures feature early Texas architecture and artifacts. The most famous structure on the site, Bear Bend, a hunting lodge used by the Republic of Texas’ first president, Sam Houston, will ultimately be transported to SHSU.

Moving any large structure more than a dozen miles is difficult, but when the buildings are historically significant structures dating back to the early 19th century, the challenge is even greater.

“Prepping the buildings involves reinforcing the structures from the inside so they can make the trip,” said Artie Morin, a workman with Cherry House Moving, which is preparing the structures for transport. “We’ve also had to clear a path through the woods so we can get the buildings out.”

Christiana Huffman, project coordinator for Cherry House Moving, said chimneys and steps have been removed from the buildings and will be reassembled when the structures arrive at their ultimate destination, more than a dozen miles away in Montgomery. Some of the buildings will have to be cut in two so they can be moved.

While a specific schedule for moving the buildings has not been finalized, Huffman said the company is coordinating with local law enforcement and utility companies related to the move.

“Power and phone lines are going to have to be raised,” she said. “We’re going to try to do the move at night to minimize disruption to the public on local roads.”

The buildings will be transported from their Honea-Egypt Road location to the park location, adjacent to the Charles B. Stewart Library in Montgomery, via FM 2854 and Texas 105.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Battle of the Piney Woods: 1-5

Each week leading up to the 85th "Battle of the Piney Woods" at Reliant Stadium in Houston October 23, presents the 20 greatest games in Piney Woods history. Here are the website's first five picks:
  • Sam Houston's first victory over SFA (1925)
  • Kats earn first conference title (1930)
  • Thanksgiving Day thriller (1938)
  • Win earns Kats' first post-season game (1952)
  • Mac Moore runs over Lumberjacks (1953)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Writing on the Wall #7

We were way too easy last time so we hope this one makes you think. Can you identify the building or location where we took the photo for our scavenger hunt?:

And yet another haiklu:

Deep frieze around the block
Such a symmetrical splendor
Watch sparks on this board

Monday, June 28, 2010

In Memoriam: Dolph Briscoe, Jr.

Former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, Jr. (1923-2010) died Sunday, June 27 at him home in Uvalde; he was 87. Briscoe served as the fortieth governor (1973-1979) - the first to serve a four-year term - after earlier being elected to the Texas Legislature in 1948 and serving as a state representative from 1949 to 1957.

You might happen upon Briscoe’s name on a few buildings as he was governor during SHSU President Elliott Bowers’ construction boom. In this 1978 Alcalde photo, Governor Briscoe and his wife, Janey, unveiled the plaque for the dedication of the Criminal Justice Center.

Link: Former Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe dies at 87.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Huntsville and the Demisemiseptcentennial

The Huntsville Item reports on Tuesday, July 13, one day after celebrating its 175th Birthday, the city of Huntsville will bury a time capsule.
As the city prepares for its Demi-Semi-Sept-Centennial* Celebration, the public is invited to prepare submissions for placement in the time capsule. The capsule will be placed on the grounds of City Hall at 9 a.m. on that Tuesday, and will be re-opened 25 years later, when the city celebrates its bi-centennial on July 12, 2035.  Submissions will be accepted at City Hall through July 9, and all submissions must fit in a letter-size envelope or a CD jewel case. For more information, contact the City Secretary’s Office.

(* look it up.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gibson Sole Finalist To Lead SHSU

Texas State University System Chancellor Brian McCall, Ph.D., has announced the selection of Dana Gibson, Ph.D., as sole finalist in the Sam Houston State University presidential search. Dr. Gibson, a resident of Huntsville, currently serves as SHSU’s vice president for finance and operations, a position she has held since 2009.

Prior to her tenure at SHSU, Dr. Gibson served as president of National University, a private, not-for-profit university in California. She also held the positions of vice president for business and finance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and vice chancellor for administration and finance at the University of Colorado at Denver. Dr. Gibson also held executive-level positions at the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver and Texas Woman’s University.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

SHSU Names TEC in Honor of Alumna, Husband

From Today@Sam:

The Texas State University System Board of Regents has approved the university’s request to name its Teacher Education Center in honor of alumna Eleanor Garrett and her husband, Charles, in recognition of her lifelong support of elementary, secondary, and higher education.

The TSUS regents approved naming the building the Eleanor and Charles Garrett Teacher Education Center in appreciation of a noteworthy gift to the university’s Share the Vision Capital Campaign from the Garretts. A formal dedication and naming ceremony is scheduled on campus August 6.

The Teacher Education Center at Sam Houston State University was built in 1976. The facility is approximately 87,000 square feet and houses faculty and staff offices, teaching labs, classrooms and service areas for the departments of curriculum and instruction; office of the dean; educational leadership and counseling; and language, literacy and special populations; and the adjoining Counseling Education Center.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Texas Magnolia Who Finally Faded

Author Donna Trussell writes at a Mother's Day remembrance of her grandmother, noted SHSU campus beautician and Memorial Museum director, Grace Crawford Longino:
Mornings we woke up to the sounds of birds. After breakfast on hand-painted Italian plates, we'd walk with her to work. She was the director of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, but my sister and I spent our days in the parkland surrounding the main building. Flowers, streams, a pond, tadpoles, pine cones -- for two little girls from a drab Dallas subdivision, it was paradise.

Munnie told me that Dan Rather took her picture, presumably for the campus newspaper. "Give me your boudoir eyes," he allegedly said to her. Hard to believe, but my grandmother was not one to make things up.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Did Not I Dance with You in AB3 Once?

reports that the dance program will pay tribute to the many years spent dancing and performing in Academic Building III during its final Dance Spectrum concert in the building Wednesday, April 28 through Saturday, May 1 before the program moves to the Performing Arts Center.

To learn more about the Dance Spectrum concert please visit the Department of Dance's website, where you can also learn some of the history of the Dance program at SHSU:
  • Prior to 1945, all dance courses were taught in the Department of Physical Education for Women, which amounted to a few folk dance classes.  (We wager the classes were taught in the old Women's Gym.)
  • In 1945, Dr. Mary Ella Montague was hired to teach dance. Three classes in modern dance were “bootlegged,” and as the years passed, the program grew as subsequent course additions were made.
  • By 1950, there were enough dance courses listed officially to create a “load” for a full-time teacher. Dr. Montague began to add theory courses as dance electives.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

University Mainstage Theatre Named for Starr

From Today@Sam:
The University Theatre Center’s Mainstage Theatre has been named in honor of the late SHSU theatre major, Erica Starr Czerwinski (1979-1999), who was killed by a drunk driver during Spring Break. Her parents, Mike and Nancy Czerwinskis, who have been supporting theatre students through an endowment and scholarship in their daughter’s name, established the Erica Starr Live Your Dream Memorial Theatre Endowment in October through a pledged contribution to the Share the Vision capital campaign. For their generosity, the SHSU Department of Theatre and Dance has renamed its Mainstage Theatre as the Erica Starr Theatre, after Czerwinski's stage name.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Dining Hall Construction Irks Students with Inconvenient Situation

From the pages of the Houstonian:
For residents of King, Elliot and Belvin Hall, parking has been an issue in the past three weeks, as parking officials have taken away yet another parking lot.

The lot located behind Belvin Hall has been shut down due to further construction on the new dining hall.

David Kapalko, the Assistant Director of Parking and Transportation officer, said the parking lot was taken for materials due to contractual agreements with the construction company.

As of press time no work has started on the area.

According to Kapalko, replacement parking will be added. In fact, Bowers Stadium will be expanded by 150 spots near Bearkat Blvd.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Writing on the Wall #6

Once there was this kid who walked into this building to listen to some music. And when he finally came in, he tripped and knocked over the piano. He said that he was sorry for making a flat major. Mmm.... Well, that story might be considered apocryphal (or nonsense), but we do have another letter in our memorizing seek-and-go-find hunt of letters hidden around campus. Our snapshot snippets aren't really hidden, yet can you identify the building or location where we took the photo? Here's the letter and yet another haiklu:

In colored glass
Enough room for principal
one-room crown jewel

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SHSU Regional Crime Lab Now Open

Today@Sam reports the Sam Houston State University Regional Crime Laboratory which will serve the basic needs of nearly 100 state and local law enforcement agencies from the ten counties surrounding Huntsville is now open:
SHSU has occupied the facility where the lab is located since October 2009 and has been in the process of purchasing and installing laboratory equipment and setting up the lab. Laboratory personnel have also been recruited and hired.

The 5,000 square-foot facility was previously a biotechnology lab and already had most of the structural and mechanical features required for a crime lab. Sam Houston State is leasing the facility for now and plans to move the operation to the university in the future.
The Conroe Courier reports:
The SHSU Regional Crime Lab contains advanced technology that enables a quicker turnaround. Mary Jane, Smokey and Zeuss are the nicknames of three of the laboratory’s five Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometers, or GS-Mass Specs, which break down substances to help determine their chemical makeup.

The lab also houses a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscope, which bounces light off objects to analyze small particles, and a polarizing light microscope, which is used to see characteristic chrystalization of drugs. Both are housed in the controlled substance room.

[Lab director Sarah] Kerrigan said the lab cost about $2.3 million and they saved nearly $1 million by not building it on the SHSU campus and designing the lab using “value engineering.” The lab should cost about $1 million to run annually, although she hopes it will become self-sustaining.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

History Park Committee Guidelines Set

The Conroe Courier reports that the Montgomery City Council approved the addition of five new members to the Fernland History Park Building Committee,:
City officials have finalized the appointees and the responsibilities of a specially formed committee that will oversee development of a planned historical park.

Committee activities will include fundraising, public relations, historical documentation, construction and interface with Sam Houston State University.

Fernland History Park is being developed on 1.75 acres of land donated by LefCo Development. Historical structures leased to the city by SHSU and other structures will be moved to the site designed to create interest in the community’s past significance and serve as an educational facility for area students and historical scholars.

Pad sites for the buildings that will be transported to Montgomery have been rough graded in preparation for foundation work. Subject to favorable weather, committee member Philip LeFevre said he anticipates the four SHSU structures will be moved at the end of March.

Regents Approve Renovation Of Walker Education Center

SHSU was given approval by the Texas State University System Board of Regents to begin renovation on the Katy and E. Don Walker, Sr. Education Center. The facility is located on the grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. University officials anticipate that the renovation will begin in June and be completed by the end of the summer.

“The Walker Education Center is the portal to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and is visited by thousands of citizens each year,” SHSU President Jim Gaertner told the regents. “The museum is a major attraction for groups of area school children that come to the Center in multiple bus loads,” he said. “The Center needs to be upgraded and expanded to better accommodate group visits. The improvements will greatly enhance the appearance of the Center and make accommodations more welcoming and comfortable.”

SHSU received $560,000 from the Cultural Activities Foundation of Huntsville/Walker County to renovate, expand, and improve the meeting space on the lower level of the center for events, receptions and conferences for both the campus and the community.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Let Not the Creaking Around Huntsville

Some road repair news out of Huntsville, courtesy the Item:

City OKs funds for Town Creek project (January 11)
The City of Huntsville will receive the necessary help to fill out a questionnaire that could earn the city an $11.1 million federal grant to fund its Town Creek Drainage Project.

City manager Bill Baine said there is a possibility of Sam Houston State University contributing $12,500 toward the cost of the study and Walker County has been approached about contributing $5,000, but he said he isn’t sure about the county contributing.

“I remain confident and optimistic that we’re going to get the grant, otherwise I wouldn’t ask for your money,” Baine said. “It’s our intention to open parts of it up and build a series of lakes, which over time become green features of our city.

“It makes a lot of sense. The water roars down off the hill and we’ve had 7th Street flood on an inch and a half rain, so what happens when we get an inch and a half in an hour. What happens when we get a big rain because the big rain is coming. It’s just a matter of time.

[Blaine] said Town Creek starts at Sam Houston State University and “they’re using Bearkat Boulevard as a retention pond. That needs to come to a halt. The city and the university’s cooperation is improving and I hope to be in a situation that the university accepts responsibility for their water and the city helps them dispose of it properly and then we give our residents a safe place to be and to the extent that we can turn it into a linear park."
Robinson Creek Work (January 11)
Work crews from several different City of Huntsville departments started working in late December on improving the infrastructure on a 2,000-foot stretch of Robinson Creek that runs through Raven Nest Golf Course and flows under the bridge crossing Veterans Memorial Parkway. Erosion of the creek’s banks was nearly exposing an 18-inch sewer line located next to the creek and just 2 feet deep. Project manager Tom Weger said they are restabilizing the embankments along the creek, placing rip-rap and dirt along the banks followed by old construction material and concrete from the transfer station. Weger said work is also scheduled under the Veterans Parkway bridge where erosion is taking place and needs to be filled in. Weger said water runoff from the Lake Road area is responsible for much of the erosion. He said the city is taking precautionary efforts to keep water and sewer lines along the creek from being washed out by the erosion and make sure they stay in tact.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Writing on the Wall #5

Happy New Year! We go for the fifth letter (an E, of course) in our electrifying hide-and-seek game around campus. Can you identify the building or location where we took the photo? Here's the letter and yet another haiklu:

Blue, green not allowed
Yes a privileged place
Hail to the chief's four wheels