Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Ad Hoc Committee on the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center
July 11, 2016
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center met on Monday, July 11, 2016, in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building, Austin, Texas.
Committee Members Present:
Larry G. Holt, committee chair
Committee Members Present via Video Conference:
Sharon T. Carr, commission vice chair
Michael C. Waters, commission chair, ex officio committee member
F. Lynwood Givens
Wm. Scott McAfee
Mark Smith, director and librarian
Donna Osborne, chief operations and fiscal officer
Jelain Chubb, director, Archives and Information Services
Alana Inman, manager, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center
Pamela Rodriguez, purchaser, Administrative Services
Scott Daywood, network administrator, Information Resources Technologies
Naomi Ditullio, distance learning specialist, Library Development and Networking
Pamela Fuentes, administrative assistant, ARIS
Joe Thrash, Office of the Attorney General
Sandra J. Pickett, Atascocito Historical Society
Commissioner Holt called the meeting to order at 11:10 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
- Approve minutes of August 2, 2015 meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Sam Houston Center.
Commissioner Carr moved approval of the August 2, 2015 ad hoc committee meeting minutes. Commission Chair Waters seconded. Motion passed.
- Report on current status of projects at the Sam Houston Center.
Jelain Chubb and Alana Inman updated the committee on the site work progress at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center and responded to questions from the committee. The repairs are the final projects funded by an appropriation from the 83rd Legislature. Ms. Chubb reported that Vaughn Construction, under contract with the Texas Facilities Commission, began work at the Center in May on drainage work, paving, and installing handicapped access to two buildings. She said Vaughn Construction is making good progress with completion expected by late September. No action required.
- Review and discuss Quimby McCoy Conditions and Structural Assessment Report.
Based on the Quimby McCoy Conditions and Structural Assessment Report completed for the commission in June 2016, Jelain Chubb and Alana Inman presented a Summary of Immediate Historic Building Repair Needs at the Sam Houston Center in the amount of $310,015 to make Level 1 repairs categorized as life safety issues and code violations in TSLAC’s five historic buildings. Four buildings are located at the Sam Houston Center and one building is in Liberty. Ms. Chubb noted that the $200,000 earmarked by the commission for these building repairs would not address all Level 1 priorities but with a $45,000 commitment from the Atascosito Historical Society and possible additional funding from the AHS, the most crucial repairs could be accomplished.
Ms. Chubb and Ms. Inman provided details on each of the building’s needs noting that these repairs would allow the buildings located on the Sam Houston grounds to be reopened and safe for public tours. The repairs identified to the Partlow House located in the city of Liberty would make it safe for interior renovation to continue.
Commissioner Wong moved to adopt the immediate needs as identified by staff (Summary of Immediate Historic Building Repair Needs at the Sam Houston Center). Commissioner Holt seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
- Discussion of priorities in addressing needs at the Sam Houston Center.
Jelain Chubb asked the committee to provide direction on the future of a steamship boiler located on the Center’s grounds. The committee discussed the history and status of the boiler which was moved onto the property prior to the Center’s construction in the 1970s and was never accessioned or included in the Center’s inventory. The boiler was recovered from the Trinity River and is believed to be from the steamship Mary Conley which sank in 1872. However, because of safety concerns and local interest in the boiler, the commission had prioritized providing an outdoor display for the boiler. Staff sought direction from the Texas Historical Commission which recommended consulting a conservator to assess the boiler’s historical value and condition. Furthermore the THC recommended not displaying the boiler outdoors due to lack of environmental controls.
After further discussion, Commissioner Holt said the committee’s consensus at this time would be not to expend funds on an outdoor building to house the boiler, but to continue exploring other possibilities for the boiler and to contract with a consultant if funds allow. Chairman Waters recommended all committee members visit the Center and view the boiler. After recommending staff explore other philanthropic groups who might be interested in preserving this history and recognizing the committee’s consensus to table the issue, Commissioner Holt ended the discussion.
- Discussion of Agency Legislative Appropriations Request for Sam Houston Center.
Mark Smith informed the committee that preparation of the agency’s Legislative Appropriation Request required staff determine where to take a mandatory four percent reduction. One possibility under consideration is to take a portion from the $1 million appropriation to the Sam Houston Center. Sandra Pickett and Martha Wong urged caution in taking a portion from a special appropriation. Director Smith said he would prefer not to cut services to the public or staff positions and Commissioner Wong noted that one of the commission’s high priorities is maintaining staff and salaries. The committee consensus recognized the difficult decision of where to apply the cuts. Chairman Waters said this will be a very serious discussion for the commission at its August 2, 2016 meeting.
Commissioner Wong moved to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Carr seconded. There being no further business before the committee, Committee Chair Holt adjourned the meeting at 1:11 p.m.