Culinary Café and Lumberjack Express

The Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents approved a $1.5 million renovation to a residence at 1401 Mound St., previously owned by former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, to house the Culinary Café, a student-run restaurant that serves meals two days each week each fall and spring semester. The Culinary Café and the Lumberjack Express, SFA’s mobile food laboratory, provide hands-on, real-world experiences for SFA students pursuing a hospitality administration degree.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents approved actions during the July quarterly meeting that will support students across campus, from Steen Library to those in disciplines ranging from agriculture to culinary sciences.

Regents approved a $6.46 million capital plan that addresses academic support, student life and safety. Projects include the renovation of a home at 1401 Mound St. for use by SFA’s hospitality administration program.

The residence, previously owned by former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, will be renovated to house the Culinary Café, a student-run restaurant that serves meals to guests two days each week during the regular semesters. Utilizing $1.5 million in the capital Higher Education Fund, the residence will be renovated to keep its historic nature while adding a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and prep area, according to Dr. Judy Abbott, dean of the Perkins College of Education.

“This learning laboratory, unique for a university in Texas, will provide hands-on, real-world experiences for students pursuing the hospitality administration degree,” Abbott said. “Much like the Lumberjack Express, the mobile food laboratory recently unveiled, the regents are acknowledging the interest in and growth of the culinary arts, entrepreneurship, event planning and food-service management. SFA is investing in the historic nature of Nacogdoches as it establishes state-of-the-art facilities that attract and transform students in East Texas and beyond.”

The capital plan also includes a $250,000 renovation of Steen Library, replacement of furniture in Hall 14 and fire-safety upgrades across campus. In residence halls, card-access systems will be installed to provide secure entry into the buildings, and the university’s wireless network will be upgraded. A $3.5 million upgrade to a power plant that supports the College of Fine Arts buildings and the purchase of a radio system for the University Police Department are included in the plan.

Regents approved the creation of the Marilyn Cranford Quasi Endowment, the result of a $1.5 million gift to support SFA’s National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops. A quasi endowment allows for distribution of revenue and principal from a fund balance.

The mission of SFA’s National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops is to improve human health by discovering novel anti-tumor and antiviral agents in native and invasive plant species and to enhance U.S. security by reducing dependency on foreign supplies of pharmaceutical ingredients.  The center previously has received significant support from the U.S. Congress and the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, as well as from state and federal agencies and private individuals, like the late Marilyn Cranford, according to Dr. Steve Bullard, SFA provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“The center has a remarkable track record in creating new pharmaceutical compounds and developing innovative methods to control invasive plants and insects,” Bullard said. “This endowment will play a critical role in the long-term support of staffing and operations and will have a great impact on SFA and East Texas, as well as a positive national and global impact.”

Regents approved the sale of timber from the Todd Agricultural Research Center to convert predominately pine forestland to silvopasture – a form of agriculture that integrates trees, forage plants and grazing livestock operations.  

“The proceeds will fund pasture improvement and will create demonstration areas for teaching, research and outreach,” Bullard said.  

Regents approved the purchase of property at 208 Feazell St., a lot located between two existing university lots. “This acquisition will create a continuous section of lots and provide an opportunity to expand student parking,” said Dr. Danny Gallant, vice president for finance and administration.    

Regents approved the selection of Page Southerland Page to create an updated campus master plan.

“The Board of Regents approved our current campus master plan on April 19, 2011, and that plan extends through fiscal year 2020,” Gallant said. “We issued a request for qualifications, and three of the five firms that responded presented their plans to the board for consideration. We look forward to working with this agency to develop a plan for the future.”

Page Southerland Page has completed projects for University of Texas campuses in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.   

Regents approved changes in course fees, an increase in the student application fee and an exemption of the distance-education fee for dual-credit students enrolled in ITV-delivered courses. They approved a one-time $117 fee to be paid by students enrolled in programs utilizing Watermark LiveText hosted services.

Regents also approved:

  • The 2019-2020 holiday schedule
  • The annual audit plan
  • Resolutions supporting Texas Department of Transportation grant applications to enhance pedestrian sidewalks, trails and bicycle paths
  • Exemptions and waivers of tuition and fees authorized by the Texas Education Code
  • FY19 grant awards totaling $228,836
  • Purchase of SAP Concur travel-expense software
  • Revisions to the Intercollegiate Athletic policies and procedures manual
  • An update of approved financial institutions and brokers
  • Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity architectural and engineering contracts
  • A new policy and policy revisions, and
  • The conversion of SFA course numbers to the Texas Common Course numbering system.

The board heard an update on construction projects and reports from the Student Government Association, the Faculty Senate and Dr. Steve Westbrook, interim president.