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University looking at more land

March 19, 1997

James Phillips / The Baylor Lariat

L. L. Sams Inc. furniture building sits on property the University is considering purchasing. The building contains 72,000 square feet and was built in 1919 as a textile mill. If the property receives a good report the University plans to buy it.

By Michelle Van Rysselberge

Lariat Staff Writer

The University may enlarge its bubble by several acres.

If the property receives a clean bill of health, the University plans to purchase property where L. L. Sams Inc. furniture firm is located.

The Sams family owned L. L. Sams and Sons, a church-related furniture business that started in 1898.

In 1994, Royal Seating Corporation of Cameron, which manufactures school furniture, bought the business and renamed it L. L. Sams Inc. Royal Seating.

The company leases the buildings and land at the South University Parks and La Salle Avenue location from its owners, Ross Jr. and Olive Sarah Sams.

But Royal Seating's lease ends Aug. 1. The company told the Samses they did not want to buy the property, and the Samses then asked University officials if they would be interested in purchasing the land.

'It seemed logical because [the property] is surrounded on three sides by Baylor and the Ferrell Center is across the street,' Olive Sarah Sams said. 'It seemed that they would be the people most interested in it.'

University officials expressed interest in the property and are waiting on environmental reports and the University regents' approval of the sale, said Dr. Stan Madden, vice president of University marketing.

The health reports are investigating samples that detected varnish in a storage area.

The University does not have any definite plans regarding how the property will be used, Madden said.

University officials asked Calvin Smith, director of the Strecker Museum Complex, to look into the possibility of using a building on the Samses' property for the new museum. The building contains 72,000 square feet and was built in 1919 as a textile mill.

The amount of rehabilitation needed to make the building a usable structure would cost as much as constructing the first phase of a new museum, Smith said.

'Expending money to do that would be difficult to justify,' Smith said.

The University plans to build a state-of-the-art facility for the new museum in the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village sometime after the Student Life Complex is completed, Smith said.

The Strecker Museum is currently located in the basement of Sid Richardson Science Building.

If the deal goes through, L. L. Sams Inc., will move its company to another site in Waco or in the surrounding community, said John Hancock, vice president of L. L. Sams Inc.

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