Regents approve Rivers Center preliminary plans

Date of release: 05/13/02

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS The Texas State University System Board of Regents has approved preliminary plans for the first phase of construction of the Texas Rivers Center at San Marcos Springs.

Phase I of the project includes renovation of the former Inn at Aquarena Springs to office space and demolition of some former Aquarena Springs theme park facilities.

The plans were prepared in partnership by the architectural firms Lake Flato and Graeber, Simmons and Cowan. The firms were authorized by the regents to develop detailed plans and bidding specifications with a total project cost for Phase I not to exceed $3.289 million.

The Texas Rivers Center at San Marcos Springs is a joint project of Southwest Texas State University and Texas Parks and Wildlife. It involves transforming the former Aquarena Springs theme park into an educational and research center designed to inform the public about the importance of water resources and how those resources work as a system.

Meeting Thursday and Friday (May 9 and 10) on the SWT campus, the regents also authorized the university to prepare a special legislative appropriation request for a permanent facility for the North Austin-Williamson County Multi Institution Teaching Center.

The MITC is a consortium of SWT and other Austin area colleges and universities that provides college coursework in the North Austin and Williamson County area. It currently offers classes in various locations, including on high school campuses in the area.

A team of university and TSUS officials has reviewed several proposals from the Travis and Williamson county real estate development communities for locations for a permanent MITC campus.

In other SWT related business, the board:

  • Authorized the university to add a master of arts degree with a major in anthropology, to add a graduate certificate in health care administration and to change the name of the Department of Speech Communication and majors in speech communication to the Department of Communication Studies and majors in communication studies.
  • Authorized the university to create an endowment account for the International Institute for Sustainable Water Resources.
  • Authorized the university to accept two gifts of property and lease them, along with other SWT property on Wood Street between Comanche and Fredericksburg streets, to the TSUS Foundation for the development of student housing in partnership with American Campus Communities.
  • Adopted resolutions honoring Sheila Fling as distinguished Professor of Psychology Emerita, Louis B. Caruana as Distinguished Professor of Clinical Laboratory Science Emeritus and Larry T. Patterson as Distinguished Professor of Marketing Emeritus.
  • Adopted a resolution honoring Nancy Feyl Chavkin, professor of social work, for her selection as a Piper Professor by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.
  • Adopted a resolution designating poet Ai Ogawa as holder of the Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Endowed Chair in Creative Writing. Ogawa was the recipient of the 1999 National Book Award for her New and Selected Poems.
  • Acknowledged gifts to the university of $5,000 or more.
    • Weldon Durrenberger deeded 295.5 acres of land valued at $472,000 to create an endowment in the name of his late wife, Gwen Durrenberger, for women majoring in one of the departments in the College of Science.
    • Applied Micro Devices donated a scanning electron microscope system valued at $39,000 to the Department of Physics. The equipment will be used by the materials physics and semiconductor programs at SWT.
    • Advanced Micro Devices donated $26,000 for science initiatives in the SWT College of Science.
    • Anthony “Lucky” Tomblin contributed $25,000 to establish the Michael Abbott Graduate Scholarship in Education. The gift honors Abbott for his 26 years of service to SWT in a variety of administrative positions and is designated for students seeking advanced degrees in educational administration.
    • Otis G. Reese gave $25,000 to establish the Lola Jean Retherford Reese Band Scholarship in memory of his wife. Recipients of the scholarship must be active members of the marching band and ensemble bands at SWT.
    • Richard Boehm and Denise Blanchard-Boehm donated $20,000 for the Grosvenor Endowment in the Department of Geography.
    • The Hobby Family Foundation contributed $20,000 toward the establishment of the Jerome and Cathy Supple Professorship to support the regional and national activities of the Center for Southwestern Studies at SWT.
    • CenturyTel of San Marcos gave $15,000 toward its pledge of $75,000 for the new athletic facility.
    • Dionicio “Don” Flores and Ruth Ann Flores donated $5,000 and a matching gift of an additional $5,000 from the Gannett Foundation to establish the Dionicio “Don” and Ruth Ann Flores Mass Communication Endowment. Funds contributed earlier bring the endowment to $44,000.
    • Claudette Reese gave $10,000 to establish the Timothy William Reese Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is for student pursuing an occupational education degree with an emphasis in business.
  • Awarded a contract to the architectural firm Graeber, Simmons and Cowan to prepare preliminary plans for the renovation of the first floor of the Albert B. Alkek Library. The total cost of the project is estimated at $834,000.
  • Accepted the financial report of the Aquarena properties for the fist six months of fiscal year 2002.
  • Approved out of country study programs, curriculum changes, routine personnel matters, budget adjustments and course fees.

The TSUS Board of Regents governs the following eight components: Angelo State University in San Angelo, Lamar University in Beaumont, Lamar State College-Port Arthur, Lamar State College-Orange, Lamar Institute of Technology in Beaumont, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, SWT and Sul Ross State University in Alpine, including the Rio Grande College with campuses in Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Uvalde.

Members of the nine-member board are Dionicio “Don” Flores of El Paso, chair; John P. Hageman of Austin, vice chair; Kent Adams of Beaumont; Patricia Diaz Dennis of San Antonio; Alan W. Dreeben of Schertz; James A. “Jimmy” Hayley of Texas City; Nancy R. Neal of Lubbock; Pollyanna A. Stephens of San Angelo; and James L. Sweatt III of DeSoto. Chancellor Lamar Urbanovsky manages the system office in Austin.