A brand new design

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people”- Chinese Proverb

Well, Sam Houston is planning for 10 years and its goal is to educate more people through the new 2020 Master Plan.

With the closing of the decade nearing, it is time for a new master plan for the Sam Houston campus, which accommodates for the potential growth over the next ten years.

“It is a plan that is primarily for capital construction, what we are going to build and tear down for about the next 10 years,” President Gaertner said. “To know that, with any degree of certainty, you need a plan for what your enrollment is going to be, what programs you are going to be focusing on, and things like how many beds you want on campus.”

“So with this new plan comes a lot of planning and assumptions to put together a realistic master plan.

Here are some of the major changes President Gaertner noted that the campus will see in the next 10 years.

“We plan to tear down all of the small student housing, like King Hall for example, and build additional student housing. We are going to tear down the LSC and build a new LSC on the same spot, and build new Nursing and Allied Health, Engineering and College of Business buildings and turn the old business building into general classrooms,” President Gaertner said. “We also plan to add to the Criminal Justice and Education buildings. There will also be three structured parking garages being built.”

The schedule for all of these improvements depends on many variables, so not all of these changes will happen at once. “The building schedule depends on our enrollment growth, the availability of funds, certain programs growing at a certain rate, and programs being approved, such as the Engineering and Nursing and Allied Health programs,” President Gaertner said. “One of the very first projects we will have is going to be new dormitories and student housing because we need a certain number of beds available when we tear down the older houses. We will probably break ground [on the housing project] within the next year and a half or so and then probably after that Allied Health and Nursing.”

The university will be seeing a large bill for these improvements once they get under way. “The whole master plan, in today’s dollars, would cost in the $600- $700 million range. Now, within the next five-six years, it would be about half of that,” President Gaertner said. “Plans change so those things that we feel, with some certainty, that we are going to build will probably be around $300-350 million.”

There are several ways that the university will acquire the money it needs for these improvements. “Onestudents pay will be used to repay those bonds. Another way we will use will be using designated tuition, as the tuition goes up, part of that money can go to paying off money that we borrowed to build buildings.”

Sam Houston has a great record for completing everything it sets out to improve in each master plan, and the last thing to be completed for the 2010 Master Plan is the Performing Arts Center. “One reason that everything got completed was because we grew fast,” President Gaernter said. “So in this next master plan we can not be sure if everything gets completed because of the uncertainty of enrollment growth. If we grow faster we might complete the plan before we said and if we grow slower, instead of a 10-year plan it might be a 15-year plan.” The expected enrollment for the year 2020 at Sam Houston is around 20,000 students.

“Another important reason is that things change, so a major that might be really hot now and we project to be really important to us in the future might slow down and something else might take off. So the plan might be modified.”

Aesthetics are also taken into account when outlining the master plan. “The master plan is not just for buildings, but it is also calls for the campus to remain beautiful and maybe even enhancing the beauty,” Gaertner said. “So we really want this campus to remain a pleasant place to work and study.”

For more information about the Campus Master Plan, log on to http://www.shsu.edu/~masterplan/

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