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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

News

UH to bid on nearby property


The UH-System Board of Regents unanimously voted Monday to allow UH Interim Chancellor John Rudley to negotiate a land purchase near the University as a way to ensure the University’s expansion in the future, officials said.

"(The board) needs to protect the ability of the University to meet expanding needs in the next 50 years," Welcome Wilson, chairman of the board, said.

Before the 13-minute board meeting to approve negotiations on the land, the board held a two-hour closed executive session.

The approximate 43-acre land tract is up for sale by private owners through commercial real estate broker McDade, Smith, Gould, Johnston, Mason and Company. The triangular-shaped tract is located southeast of the University, between Old Spanish Trail, Spur 5 and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

"The University has an opportunity to use the land in years to come," Wilson said. "We need to be planning ahead."

Wilson also said that the University was made aware of the land sale approximately three months ago and that he was informed of the sale through fliers and information from the company. Information to bid on the land has been available since November 2006, and the minimum bid for purchase is $25 million, according to the broker’s Web site.

Besides the University, developers are also bidding on the land, Wilson said, although he declined to comment further on potential bidders or how the land will be specifically used.

The board does not have any immediate plans for the land if acquired and is acting on the purchase of the land due to its close proximity to the University, Wilson said.

In potential purchases of over $1 million, UH General Legal Counsel Dona Hamilton Cornell said that the board had to approve whether to enter into a negotiation or purchase.

Members also discussed changes in board bylaws to change the amount of members attending closed committee sessions as a way to prevent breaking state law. The board said that it will change the bylaws to include four members in executive committees and will need a majority vote of six members to approve the adjustments made.

Cornell will enact the amendments. No date was set for the members to vote at the meeting for the bylaw changes.

The current bylaws state that if three members of an executive committee meet, then they are deciding on a University issue, and it is a closed session. If four or more attend an executive meeting, then the board would have to make the meeting open to the public.

The board consists of nine regents, all of whom are appointed to different committees by the chairman.

Executive committees consist of a chair, vice chair and secretary, are all appointed by the chairman of the board. If four or more board members attend an executive committee, then the committee meeting is open to the public according to the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Standing committees that deal with financial, academic and University planning are made up of chair and vice chairs during a one-year term. In these committees, a quorum is made up a majority of five members that make decisions. If more than five attend, then the meeting should be open to the public.


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