Regents approves new master plan

After a year of development and production, JJR Inc’s revised master plan proposal was passed last Friday at the quarterly Board of Regents meeting.

The most recently approved master plan was in 2000, and universities are required to submit new plans every 10 years. The early update was based on Sam Houston State University’s recent growth, and incorporates needs for further student expansion.

JJR Inc. predicts SHSU growth of around 2 percent per year to result in a total of over 21,000 students by the year 2020, as noted in their earlier presentations. The current enrollment is in the mid-16,000 range. Not counting students taking classes in The Woodlands’ University Center, projected totals are closer to 19,000 students.

According to Today@Sam, the approved master plan includes work on the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas building, an integrated engineering and technology building, a new agricultural complex at Gibbs Ranch, a biology, nursing and allied health building, a forensic science building, a new College of Business Administration building, and modifications to the Criminal Justice Center.

Residence halls are included in the plan with two new dorms — one near Sorority Hill and the other where King Hall is now located. The plan also calls for another parking garage on Bearkat Boulevard. According to JJR’s research and presentations, the current ratio of students to parking spots is 2.2 to 1, and to maintain that with projected student growth over 2,300 new spaces must be created.

Other modifications suggested by JJR are expansions on the health center, a new maintenance building for Residence Life, and a new alumni center next to Bowers Stadium.

JJR Inc. visited campus several times over the course of last year to gauge the campus’s needs as well as student’s feelings. They developed multiple possible plans, which are eventually narrowed down to the final one which was presented to the regents.

The Board of Regents also approved the intercollegiate athletic fee and tuition and fee increases for fall 2009, honored Distinguished Professor of English Paul Ruffin by naming him a Regents’ Professor, and approved study abroad programs.

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