Sam Houston clears path for bell tower

14 years ago Comments Off on Sam Houston clears path for bell tower

The demolition of the brick planter box located near the Bobby K. Marks Administration building is to make way for a bell tower.

Frank Holmes, vice president for University Advancement, and Jim Parker, vice president for finance and operations, are overseeing the project. “We have a lot of things pending at this time,” Holmes said.

Holmes, Parker and the Alumni Association are working together on the design for the bell tower. Holmes said a company that specializes in bell towers has come to their attention, and they have asked the company to develop the specifics on the proposed tower design. “They have come up with a design concept that we like,” said Holmes. “We requested more precise drawings in conjunction with more specifications and the cost at which they could build the tower.”

The bell tower will stand approximately 50 feet tall with either a base of 12 by 12 feet or 14 by 14 feet. Four gothic arches will open the bell tower to the surrounding walkways. Holmes explained that four medallions will be placed on each side of the tower. “Two sides will bear the ‘SH’ logo, and the other two sides will bear the traditional ‘Sam Houston’ logo,” said Holmes. The bell tower will be constructed of the same brick used across campus; Holmes said the brick is known as Sam Houston State brick. “It will be a very traditional-looking bell tower,” Holmes said.

The bell tower won’t contain any cast bells at this time. New Caroline bells will be placed in the bell tower and will be computer controlled. “The New Caroline’s will provide a great deal of flexibility,” said Holmes.

“This is something the alumni have been wanting to do for a long time,” said Holmes. “They want this to be a meeting place for students.” Holmes also further explained that they want this to be a “landmark for future generations of alumni.”

The bell tower will be underway once the design plans are finalized. Holmes explained that Parker wanted the site prepared so that as soon as the plans are approved, the base of the tower can begin being constructed immediately.

The bell tower could be completed in as quickly as 120 to150 days, Holmes said. “A lot of the framework can be assembled off-site while the base is being built on campus,” said Holmes. “Mr. Parker and I, along with the Alumni Association, are trying to be as efficient as we possibly can with this project,” said Holmes. “But not at the expense of cost or building something that we would not be proud of.”

The cost of the bell tower has not been determined yet, due to an un-finalized design concept. However, Holmes said that they hope the cost will be well under $200,000. “The desired amount would be around $170,000,” said Holmes.

The bell tower would not have been possible without the generous gift from an alumnus. Kevin Hayes, the director of Alumni Relations, said, “a generous gift was given to the university by Ruth and Ron Blatchley.” The bell tower will be synchronized with the clock in the alumni garden, also a gift from the Blatchleys. “They feel very confident with what we are doing, and what we want to do,” said Hayes.

Holmes explained that in the future there are plans to expand the area next to the Lowman Student Center to include more planter boxes and meandering pathways. In regard to the bell tower at this time, Holmes said, “I think it will add a great deal of warmth to the campus.”