Huntsville --- A plan that will guide Sam Houston State University's growth through the next 10 years was approved Friday by the university's governing body at its regular quarterly meeting.
The Texas State University System Board of Regents also approved tuition and fee increases for the fall 2009 semester, authorized the addition of an intercollegiate athletic fee, and recognized SHSU Distinguished Professor of English Paul Ruffin as a Regents' Professor.
Each of the component universities in the system is required to submit a revised campus master plan at least every 10 years. The board approved Sam Houston State's current plan in 2000; however, because of the university's rapid growth during the past eight years, administrators decided to update the plan this year.
The plan submitted by JJR, Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich. calls for new or improved academic space, new residence halls, non-academic structures and a parking garage.
Recommended projects and estimated costs include an addition to the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas building ($15 million); integrated engineering and technology building ($37 million); agriculture complex at Gibbs Ranch ($6 million); biology, nursing and allied health building ($42 million); forensic science building ($24 million); College of Business Administration building ($45 million); and Criminal Justice Center addition ($16 million).
JJR, Inc. suggests building two residence halls --- the first one ($17.5 million) north of Sorority Hill and the second one ($23.5 million) at the site of King Hall --- in response to the projected growth in student population.
A proposed 1,200-space, multi-level parking structure on Bearkat Boulevard would cost $20 million.
Recommended non-academic facilities include a health center expansion ($3 million); a new residence life maintenance building ($2 million); and an alumni center ($10 million) adjacent to Bowers Stadium.
In other business the board approved rate increases including $7 per semester credit hour for designated tuition, $3 per semester credit hour for the computer use fee, $8 per student per semester for the recreational sports fee, and $2 per semester for the medical service fee.
SHSU President Jim Gaertner told the regents that the revenue generated by the tuition increase will be used to develop new academic programs in high need areas such as nursing and Spanish, provide salary increases to existing faculty and staff, and to hire additional support staff.
"In order to address the state's Closing the Gaps initiatives of improving retention and graduation rates and producing graduates in high need areas, Sam Houston State University must have sufficient funding to attract and retain quality faculty and support staff," he said.
The computer use fee increase will be used to respond to needs created by recent campus growth and an increased demand for technology solutions and to support a new campus enterprise resource planning system.
The additional recreational sports fee revenue will be used for the minimum wage increase and student athletic facilities expenses.
The medical service fee increase was requested to address escalating expenses related to the Student Health Center's operations because of student population growth.
The board also gave Sam Houston State approval to reduce the student service fee from $25 to $21.25 per long semester credit hour and to charge an intercollegiate athletic fee of $8.75 per long semester credit hour.
SHSU students approved the student service fee reduction and the implementation of an intercollegiate athletics fee through a referendum in October. Approximately 50 percent of the student service fee has supported intercollegiate athletics programs at SHSU annually and a designated fund will now be available for the programs to address federal minimum wage increases, demands resulting from enrollment growth and increases in scholarship expenses.
SHSU was also granted approval by the board to change its library fee from a once-a-semester charge of $35 to $5 per student per semester credit hour.
"Sam Houston State University is one of only a few public institutions in Texas that charges a flat rate library fee," Gaertner told the regents.
"The proposed $5 per semester credit hour library fee will bring the university in line with other state institutions, while keeping the fee lower than the state average of $8.57 per semester credit hour," Gaertner said.
The increased revenue generated from the fee will be used to cover increasing library costs associated with print and electronic resources, new program support, and library staffing.
The regents also approved out-of-country study programs in Botswana, Canada, China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain.
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Brian Domitrovic, assistant professor of history, appeared on Book TV (C-SPAN) May 1-2, speaking about his recent book "Econoclasts: The Rebels Sparked the Supply Side Revolution and Restored American Prosperity" (www.econoclasts.net).
Houston Chronicle education writer Jeannie Kever recently turned to Regents Professor of English Paul Ruffin for his views on university presses moving toward "digital books" as opposed to traditional ink-on-paper."We're fulfilling the ancient role of the university press, and that is to produce books," said Paul Ruffin, the Texas poet laureate for 2009 and director of the Texas Review Press at Sam Houston State University. "I don't want to give up the book because it is an art."
Monday, May 3
Tuesday, May 4
"The measure of a Life is its Service."