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Regents Approve New Building, Academic Changes

Design documents for a new $30 million home for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences were approved Friday by Sam Houston State University's governing body.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents took the action during a meeting held in Austin. Construction is expected to begin this spring with an estimated completion date of fall 2008.

The 150,000 square foot building will also house additional faculty offices as well as other academic and administrative functions, including Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Business Office and Human Resources. It will be located in the area south of the Smith-Hutson Business Building and east of the Lee Drain Building.

Approvals also included:

Room and meal plan rates for the 2007 fall semester;
A name change for the Department of Speech Communication;
A split of the Department of English and Foreign Languages into two departments;
New chairs for two departments in the College of Business;
Plans for mechanical renovations to the Belvin-Buchanan dorm.

Three of the most popular meal plans will increase by $80 per semester, or 7.14 percent. Two new plans will be offered--a 50 meals plus $100 bonus plan for $400 and 25 meals plus $150 bonus plan for $300.

The impact of cost of living increases, increased costs of operations and inflation pass-throughs from Aramark, and increases in the amounts of bonus purchases were given as reasons for the increases. The five-meal plan will increase by $18 per semester, but the bonus goes from $100 to $150.

The regents also approved 10 percent rent increases for all housing units. A 26 percent increase in utilities and extra surcharges from the Entergy company, as well as Visa/Mastercard fee increases, were given as the reasons for the dorm rate increases.

Also, the Department of Speech Communication will become the Department of Communication Studies. This reflects a national shift in emphasis from teaching only speech but also such areas as interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, family communication and intercultural communication, with the emphasis on knowledge about communication rather than communication skills.

The Department of English and Foreign Languages will be divided into a Department of English and a Department of Foreign Languages. Growth in those areas and the need to give individual attention to the needs of both areas were given as the reasons for the split.

Also effective next fall, the Departments of Economics and International Business and Accounting will have new chairs. Donald Freeman will replace Bill Green in Economics and Phillip Morris takes over for Ross Quarles in Accounting. Both former chairs will remain on the faculty in those departments.

The regents also approved a total project cost not to exceed $1.825 million for mechanical renovations to the Belvin-Buchanan dorm, which was built in 1936. After plans were prepared for the project and a cost initially approved, it was discovered that additional work of up to $250,000 in cost was needed. That project is expected to be completed this summer.

—END—

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Feb. 16, 2007
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu.

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