SHSU Denied Legislative Bonds For New Buildings

Several SHSU departments will be re-evaluating growth plans, the Houstonian reported on September 10, because the Texas Legislature failure to pass tuition revenue bonds:
Agriculture and engineering, art, and the nursing departments were in line to get new buildings by 2015 to help manage the growth of students, according to Texas State University System records.

Tuition revenue bonds, or loans to an institution using tuition as the payback promise, were the main funding for the construction projects. The revenue bonds must be passed by the Texas Legislature in order for them to be given to the universities. Money for the Nursing, Biology and Allied Health Building was requested in SB16, which passed the House but failed to reach a vote in the Senate.

The art department needs new buildings, according to department chair Michael Henderson. The current art buildings do not provide enough space for the art students, he said, which spreads the students into other buildings around campus. Henderson wants all of the art students to be centrally located. “One of the issues we have (is that) the upper administration knows (the art department needs new buildings),” Henderson said. “So, they are hesitant to put money in our current buildings since they will be torn down soon,” The new art complex is scheduled to be built in 2017. However, if the state denies the revenue bonds again, the university will not get the $12.6 million that they need.

The agricultural department’s original building was torn down in the 1980’s and they were relocated to the Thomason building. According to Kelley, the department was told that it would be a temporary relocation until a new building could be constructed. “Our temporary relocation has (lasted) for 30 years now,” [agriculture department chair Stanley] Kelley said. According to Kelley, the delay in a new facility has prevented the department from having modernized classroom and laboratory space. “We have no wall or floor outlets so students can charge or utilize electronic devices during class,” Kelley said. “[There are] no PODs or vending areas, and minimum gathering or social area for a department that has more than 1,100 majors.”

The school of nursing officials said they are also in need of a new building. Currently, they are only able to let 40 students in a semester due to the lack of space. “We have really outgrown this building,” Anne Stiles, Ph.D., chair of the school of nursing, said about the Academic Building III in a previous Houstonian article. The new building was supposed to start being built next year, but they needed $37.5 million from tuition revenue bonds to start to build their $39.7 million building.

SHSU wasn't the only university that didn't receive the revenue bonds. No Texas schools did. The next time tuition revenue bonds can be passed will be when the Texas Legislature meets in session again in 2015.


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