Campus Expansion Possibilities

Now with Smith-Kirkley Hall out of the way, the Houstonian reports that the campus turns its eyes on how to the use that piece of prime real estate as well as re-think the Student Health Center expansion:
Several possible updates to campus facilities at Sam Houston State University are in the pre-planning stage, according to university officials who met with students last week.

Associate Vice President of Student Services Keith Jenkins told members of the Student Government Association that potential updates to campus include an expansion of the Lowman Student Center, a new Health Center and updates to Pritchett Field and the University Camp.

He added that over the years, students have expressed interest in having carpeting in the LSC Ballroom, a bowling alley and an eating area in the LSC.  The expansion of the LSC will be up for a vote in October. In the meantime, Jenkins said the university is going through what he called a "pre-planning" phase to meet with different departments on campus to get input about the expansion. However, Jenkins had concern about the time limit given for planning. He said that the university is being given three to six weeks of time for pre-planning for what would normally take three to six months.

Next, Jenkins discussed another item going on the student referendum in October. Another potential plan for university expansion is a new student health center. Originally, the plan was to use the existing site to expand the health center, but with King Hall also on the list of buildings to be demolished, Jenkins said it was a "strong possibility" that the new facility could be built on that site.  Jenkins said all research and student input have been gathered for the student health center and graphic renditions of what the building may look like will be available to students by August 22.

SGA Treasurer Jimmy Williams expressed concern over congested parking around the areas of planned construction. While Jenkins could not give a definite answer, he said some ideas in discussions of the LSC expansion were to use the hilly topography of campus to build parking underneath the building to address parking issues, similar to the parking at Sam Houston Village.

"There is no finality to any of these ideas," Jenkins said. "These are just new ideas off the press.

Other proposed plans Jenkins discussed were of a new special event center near the coliseum to house the alumni center, parts of the academic advisement center and a new ballroom.   Other potential construction plans include a new dining facility and residence hall on the south side of campus with new property purchased by the university.

Then, Jenkins updated SGA on other smaller-scale updates to campus facilities. He noted that the university is installing artificial grass on Pritchett Field to combat previous problems with last year’s drought that caused an "unplayable" field.  The field, which costs around $1.1 million, will accommodate club sports, intramural teams and intercollegiate soccer teams. He said it will be completed by September 1.

Next, Jenkins confirmed the University Camp, the home of Bearkat Camp, will be under construction this fall to meet demand from student organizations to have a retreat site close to campus.  "There will be overnight accommodations for 200 people, a swimming pool and one large meeting room and we’re expanding the dining hall all for student organizations to utilize," he said.

Lastly, Jenkins said the Agriculture Facility [on] I-45 will be moving to Gibbs Ranch on 75 North. Once the move is complete, there will be more room for more sports fields on the I-45 spot.

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