Feature Illustration (above): Pedestrian plaza and building entrance perspective of the SHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine building in Conroe. Courtesy: Page/SLAM.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Conroe (Montgomery County) — Sam Houston State University is proceeding to the construction phase on the College of Osteopathic Medicine building, according to an October 3 report in The Paper.
The Montgomery County publication, relying on a press statement from Johnson Development Corporation, stated the college would be placed in Johnson’s Grand Central Park master planned community. It had been Johnson’s long-held ambition to include a higher education facility in Grand Central Park and the land developer donated the land, 7.3 acres, as an incentive to get SHSU to place the college off the main campus in Huntsville.
However, the decision to move forward with construction came during an August 16 quarterly meeting of the Texas State University System Board of Regents. Sam Houston State is in the TSU System.
Site plan for the new SHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in Conroe. Courtesy: Page/SLAM.
Regent William F. Scott, who sits on the TSU System’s Construction Committee made the motion to accept the design development documents. At the time, the design documents were at 35 percent or more toward completion.
“This project, more than any since I’ve been on the Construction Committee, happened on timelines that, frankly, as a contractor I’ve doubted could be met,” Scott said at the board meeting.
“They were met and I’m very proud to say that Sam Houston State and Rob Roy and his team worked very hard and diligently to make this happen on a very short timeline.”
Rob Roy Parnell is the deputy vice chancellor of Capital Projects Administration for the TSU System.
At the time of the vote, the regents already had cost estimates from the competing construction managers at risk, Vaughn Construction of Houston and Busby Construction of New Hampshire.
Vaughn, the selected contractor, has a detailed cost estimate of more than $51 million, slightly higher than Busby’s. However, the construction cost limit is $49,002,557. The total project cost with architect and CMAR fees, furnishings and equipment, etc. is $65 million.
Southwest view of the ground floor lobby. Courtesy: Page/SLAM.
The design documents accepted come from Page/SLAM out of the Houston office.
Sam Houston State proposes to have the building ready for its inaugural class in 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin before year’s end.
Sam Houston State was interested in the location because it provides an opportunity to serve rural East Texas communities with primary care physicians, “not only capable of fighting disease and improving health but dedicated to health promotion and disease prevention,” SHSU stated in its briefing paper to the regents.
“The most critical issue for this project is delivering a building that positions SHSU to take advantage of this epic occasion. As articulated in the initial Program of Requirements, primary program elements (are positioned to allow this start-up school to build a student-centered culture by connecting all members of its proposed COM & SHSU community (students, faculty and staff) and engaging the people of Conroe and East Texas.”
The project site is located near Interstate 45 and Loop 336 in Conroe. It will include surface parking for 375 vehicles.
Phasing scenarios begin with a 106,700-square-foot, four-story building with a mezzanine, a future 100,000 GSF facility, and the initial surface parking may be converted to a future parking garage.
Aerial view of the planned SHSU campus in Conroe. Courtesy: Page/SLAM.
Construction will start before completion of the public streets and utilities. Therefore, measures will be taken to include a temporary graveled roadway, temporary electrical and water services, temporary onsite parking for the construction labor force and temporary driveway around the entire building to allow equipment and material movement.
The College of Osteopathic Medicine will include spaces to support instruction, research, academic administration and student life.
The regents are financing the project through TSU bonds.
The level two Community Edge of the future SHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Courtesy: Page/SLAM.
The site is heavily wooded with tall trees. The landscape plan includes sparing trees on much of the acreage, but a majority of the trees must be cleared for the building and parking area.
Page, in their design narrative, said, “The intent is to keep the woodland character of the site, not only through adherence to required tree protections in setback zones and prescribed planting in parking areas, but also by working around mature trees located by the tree survey.
“The character of the site, maintains a natural, wooded feeling with the building nestled into the landscape in order to give a distinctive character to the medical school in the midst of a commercial development; in order to create a sense of “campus”; and in order to provide a calming relief from what is often a very demanding and stressful program.”
The main entrance of the future College of Osteopathic Medicine. Courtesy: Page/SLAM.