A new spin on an old Stephen F. Austin State University tradition will be visible in the night sky following the first athletic victory of the fall semester.

Two rotating purple beacon lights placed atop Steen Towers will now be used to alert SFA students and supporters of all sports wins, both at home and away.

For many years, the top of the 14-story Garner Tower has been illuminated in purple every time the Lumberjacks prevailed on the field, track or court. But Garner was razed earlier this year to make room for a new four-story freshman residence hall and 1,000-car parking garage.

A committee of students and staff members was appointed by SFA President Baker Pattillo to study how best to preserve the long-standing tradition. The committee considered several options before choosing the beacons as the most fitting symbol of future Lumberjack victories. Administrators viewed an on-campus demonstration of the lights about a month ago.

"I have to tell you I was somewhat skeptical of how well the purple lights could be seen at night," Steve Westbrook, SFA vice president for university affairs, reported to the Board of Regents Monday. "But after seeing the demonstration, we were pleasantly surprised at how bright the lights appeared."

The committee checked with officials at A.L. Mangham Regional Airport to ensure the lights will be in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

The beacons will be operational by Sept. 4, when the Lumberjack football team takes on Texas A&M University in College Station. However, Westbrook said a win that night may necessitate a break from tradition. "If we beat the Aggies, we might just leave the purple lights on for the entire week."

At the SFA Board of Regents meeting Tuesday, members approved an institutional budget totaling $214.3 million for the 2010-11 fiscal year. The budget reflects a 5-percent reduction in state funding, along with a 3.9-percent increase in tuition and fees and room and board. Faculty and staff salary equity adjustments, an increase for faculty promotions and staff reclassifications are included.

Regents approved a capital infrastructure budget totaling more than $3 million. The budget will fund renovations to the SFA TV studio, improvements to several residence halls, additional campus lighting and other capital projects.

A capital operating plan budget totaling $1.8 million and including various information technology, vehicle and life safety initiatives also was approved.

During the meeting Tuesday, Regents also approved:

the reappointment of four SFA employees who report directly to the board, including the president, interim general counsel, director of audit services and coordinator of board affairs;
the small class list for the Maymester and Summer I terms and proposed course type changes;
revisions to intercollegiate athletic policies and procedures;
continuing negotiations with Oncor Electric Delivery Company regarding a request for a five-foot easement extension along Appleby Sand Road;
the selection of investment management firm LMT Wealth Management Group of Tyler;
athletic programs and general liability insurance coverage;
the purchase of electric utilities and water, sanitary sewer and landfill services;
the adoption of a $25 fee for students who pay tuition, fees, room and board in multiple installments;
Xerox copier leases for SFA Printing Services;
a construction budget of $37 million for the new freshman residence hall and adjacent parking garage;
and grant awards totaling approximately $3.6 million.