The yellow-brick building at the heart of the Sam Houston State University campus, known as the Bobby K. Marks Administration Building, will be celebrating its sentential next year.
The Bobby K. Marks Administration Building was built in 1916. It was the sixth permanent sculpture building to appear and the first science building on campus.
“I’m proud to work in a place where the university still has a lot of history,” Associate Director of Communications Julia May said. “I think that it’s at a wonderful location. This is considered the historic district of the university and the oldest buildings that exist on campus are in this area.”
The administration building has served several different roles throughout its time. It was once the YMCA and it used to have the university bookstore inside.
“I can only speak to how it has been as the administration building,” May said. “I think its character has made it a part of campus.”
In the past, the school was considering tearing the building down because they thought it was structurally unsound. Later, it turned out that it was not structurally unsound so they decide to renovate the building in 1997 when it got new heating, plumbing, air-conditioning and wiring.
“It doesn’t seem like it was too long ago,” University Archivist Barbara A. Kievit-Mason said. “That’s when they put in all the fancy doors and all of that kind of stuff in there.”
The administration building is now modernized and structurally sound.
“Because it is the heart of campus, it has been well maintained, well protected and updated as needed,” May said.
The building was named after President Bobby K. Marks in 2001. He was the university’s 11th president.
“He was a long-time administrator on campus,” May said. “He had served as dean of the college of business administration and then he was vice president for academic affairs and then president of the university. His ties to the university made it appropriate that this building be named after him.”
Alumni have donated a variety of things to the university, some of which are displayed in the administration building.
“They have cases of things that people have given to the university over the years,” Kievit-Mason said. “That’s kind of cool. There’s a very decorative knife in there, a silver sailing-ship, a plaster-cast of Sam Houston’s head and a silver tea service. They’re kind of interesting.”
The Bobby K. Marks Administration Building is important to many faculty members. May began her nearly four decade-long career here at SHSU working in this building.
“This building has a very, very special place in my heart because when I came here 35 years ago as a very young employee, this is where I started out,” May said. “I was on the third floor and then as my office has moved to different locations, I am excited to be back in the building that I first started in at Sam Houston.”