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.