The center of attention

As trees are torn down for the construction of new buildings on a regular basis, Sam Houston State University is planning on doing the opposite. In a new project called the “SHSU Mall Extension Project,” planners are saying goodbye to the Frels and Wilson Buildings and saying hello to green.

With this project considered as the new heart of the campus, the slightly less than 1.5 acre plot of land is going to be transformed into a new place where students will be able to study, eat and hang out, as well put on small performances.

“The Frels and Wilson buildings have long been on our list to demolish because of their age,” said Doug Greening, Physical Plant Department Director. “Dr. Gaertner desired to tear the buildings down and build a new mall area for the students.”

The focus for this new project was to allow a clear and spacious circulation path for students designed for outdoor plazas and outdoor study gardens.

“This will be the new main focal point, or hub, of the campus,” said Greening. “Students will be able to congregate there. We also felt that putting up a new building would really go against the grain of allowing for circulation of the students.”

Within the park, there will be a raised seating plaza to allow for tables and chairs, and surrounding the plaza will be large planting beds full of flowers. Wireless Internet spanning the length of the park will add as an extra bonus to computer toting enrollees.

As the Frels-Wilson buildings have been a talk of demolition for quite some time, Greening says that before the buildings are to be demolished, workers are inside the facilities getting last minute items to be reused on other parts of campus.

“In the meantime of waiting for bids and proposals to go through, we have crew inside the buildings removing items such as door hardware, lights and air conditioning units,” said Greening. “These buildings have long been used for temporary offices and we just felt it was time for the buildings to go.”

While a person might wonder where the money is coming from to pay for the new project, Greening says that it comes directly from the students.

“In May 2006, the board approved the use of $2 million for the new project,” Greening said. “The money will come from designated tuition, better known as a general use fee.”

As the plans are made and construction is ready to begin, Greening says the project should be completed by Summer 2007.

“We are hoping to get the project [park] started by with in the January/February timeframe,” Greening said. “It is projected to be finished next summer before the students come back in the fall.”

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