South dining hall plans to get facelift

Sam Houston State University’s planned $8 million south dining hall could have a totally new look.

Courtesy: Texas State University System

Courtesy: Texas State University System

Texas State University System Board of Regents members requested a new elevation, or “skin of the building,” after Regent Kevin J. Lilly objected to the modern look the original plans have.

“I would contend that anyone here could walk up to the state capitol and the governor’s mansion, and again it’s not about taste, you may not love it,” Lilly said during Friday’s meeting. “You may not want to live in the governor’s mansion, but I think you will find it graceful and elegant and fitting of an institution of the highest order. Yet there are certain buildings that evoke a visceral response such as pitiful, graceless, bland rectangles. I’m not picking on Sam Houston at all, I know it sounds like this. But I think it’s our role that 100 years from now, I don’t want anyone looking at something with my name on it and say, ‘what were they thinking when they built that?’”

Lilly abstained from voting when the design was approved Feb. 19 but changed his vote to ‘no’ Friday with the Board’s approval.

“You may love this building. It’s not about whether you love it or not,” Lilly said. “I think it’s about what is our role here with respect to construction and design and something that will live beyond us.”

The original designs were developed by Kirksey Architecture, and Mike Wintemute, TSUS associate vice chancellor for governmental relations, who said they will be creating proposals for a new elevation.

According to Denise Neu, director of facilities planning at SHSU, the new renderings could take a month to complete.

The alternative plans, Wintemute said, would not push back the final deadline of the project for its opening in fall 2016 nor would it have a “substantial increase” financially to the cost of the project.

“I don’t care if it takes two more months to build as long as it’s done right,” Lilly said.

The building will cost $8,310,266, according to the TSUS Board Book. The current design plans mimic other campus buildings with the same elevation, including Old Main Market and the Student Health Center, which was completed in 2014.

Multiple calls to Lilly for further comment were unreturned. Follow The Houstonian for more information as it develops.


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