SFA seeking $58M to build new science, technology, engineering, - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

SFA seeking $58M to build new science, technology, engineering, math building

Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Officials at Stephen F. Austin State University estimate that the cost of a new, science, technology, engineering, and math building will cost $58 million.

University and state leaders are gearing up for a second request by talking about something rarely brought to the forefront - broadcasting what's wrong with SFA's science building.

“The students can't even move around,” said Dr. Kim Childs, the dean of SFA's College of Science and Mathematics.

They also talked about what the university's College of Science and Mathematics doesn't have.

“We simply need more space,” said Dr. John Moore, a chemistry professor at SFA

They also talked about how STEM professors make do with what they have.

“We're still using the exact same petrographic microscopes for looking at rocks that were bought when the department was founded in the 60s and early 70s,” said Dr. Kevin Stafford, an associate geology professor at SFA.

They're the things a university often tries to keep quiet, but were shown off to regents and a state legislator in a walkthrough of the science and math buildings on Tuesday.

Every legislative session, universities tend to air what they're least proud of during the competition for tuition revenue bond money. 

“We are putting in a request for a tuition revenue bond in the amount of $58 million to build a new facility,” Childs said.

The idea is to be the university with the longest and most urgent needs in the state.

“It is a difficult situation because basically every university in the state has needs, so they're all applying at the same time,” said Dr. Baker Patillo, SFA's president.

 So pictures were taken of labs that look more like store rooms. Notes about black mold falling on work spaces were jotted down. And it's not bragging, but the older the equipment, the better.

“Federal surplus,” said Clay Watts with SFA's machinist shop. “They equipped this whole shop with stuff from the 40s."

In addition, the machinist shop is tucked away on the roof because there's no space on the floors below.

Not to mention the machinist shop tucked away on the roof because there's no space on the floors below.

“All the cabinets are maxed out,” Moore said. “We have no more space."

And space is taught at the SFA Planetarium using film slide projectors which are far removed from the digital age. State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, wants to prevent the quest for funding from becoming a second scrapped mission.  

“I think there's a broad consensus in the legislature to see the tuition revenue bonds go forward,” Clardy said. “We'll be working on those numbers. I know some of the bills have already been filed, but I think TRBs make their way through and get to the governor's desk."

Until then, everything wrong will be shown off in the attempt to make everything right.              

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