Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m., January 16, 2002

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Subject Public Hearing
Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting.  
  Summary of Minutes  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. Proposition 8 Briefing Issues
Staff: Scott Boruff
Committee Only
3. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
AD HOC Infrastructure Committee
November 7, 2001

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 7th day of November 2001, there came on to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas beginning at 4:10 p.m., to wit:


Katharine Armstrong Idsal, Chair
John Avila, Jr.
Carol E. Dinkins (absent)
Ernest Angelo, Jr.
Alvin L. Henry
Mark E. Watson, Jr. (absent)
Philip O’B Montgomery, III
Joseph Fitzsimons
Donato Ramos

II. OPENING STATEMENT: Commissioner Avila called the meeting to order.

III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Avila asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the May 30, 2001 meeting. The motion was moved by Commissioner Fitzsimons, seconded by Commissioner Ramos and carried. The motion passed unanimously.


1. BRIEFING – Chairman Charges

Presenter: Mr. Andrew Sansom

Andrew Sansom, Executive Director, stated to the Commission that the principal issue of the chairman charges is to prepare and execute the newly passed Proposition 8 bond issue.

2. BRIEFING – Projects Update

Presenter: Mr. Scott Boruff

Mr. Scott Boruff, Director of the Infrastructure Division, first gave the Commission a brief presentation on the history of the bond program. He began with explaining to the Commission that prior to 1997, revenue for capital repairs was fairly unpredictable. The lack of steady funding resulted in the agency falling behind in critical facility repairs. In 1996, an Infrastructure Task Force was created to access the backlog situation. The task force identified $75 million of backlog critical repair needs. In 1997, the 75th Legislature authorized $60 million in revenue bonds to help address those needs. Approximately 75 percent of the bond revenue was proposed for water/wastewater repairs, 20 percent on facility repairs, and approximately 5 percent on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) repairs. The last issue of bond revenue was released for expenditure this last January. Actual percentages for each category vary slightly from the original proposed percentage.

He also shared with the Commission Infrastructure’s three major philosophy components. The first component is having a strong commitment to agency’s mission. He explained that Infrastructure has a very dedicated staff committed to doing infrastructure in a way that does not impact the resource negatively. He further explained that it is the division’s role to set the stage for other resource divisions in the agency so that they can concentrate in the areas of outreach, education, and resource conservation.

The second component of the philosophy is a commitment to sustainable design. Adopting sustainable design is an effort to incorporate national standards as established by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). USGBC’s primary vehicle for promoting sustainable design and construction is based on an established rating system called LEED. LEED stands for leadership in energy and environmental design. It is based on accepted energy and environmental principles and strikes a balance between known effective practices and emerging concepts. The rating system is a feature-oriented system where credits are earned for satisfying each criterion. Different levels of green building certification are awarded based on the total credits earned. There are four levels of certification. The highest level is platinum and the second highest level is gold. There are only two projects in the entire United States that have reached the platinum level of sustainable design. Mr. Boruff announced that the Lake Somerville project to replace the headquarters building is only a few points away from reaching this top level of design. The project is the first project internally designed to meet the green building certification. He also stated that many reputable architectural firms around the state have never reached the gold level and he feels certain that the Lake Somerville project will at least reach the gold level.

The third philosophy component is accessibility. There are several new guidelines relative to ADA that will be coming out in the next couple of years. The first new guideline he discussed focuses on fishing piers and platforms. The second new guideline focuses on outdoor developed areas such as recreation access routes and trails. Mr. Boruff stated that Infrastructure design staff has taken the lead to use these new guidelines in all new construction projects. He then presented some visuals showing examples of these projects. At Cedar Hill State Park, concrete walkways were built to connect a new floating fishing pier with a platform. Twenty-five percent of the platform railings are below 32 inches in height and has an edge protection that extends 50mm above the deck surface. The platform also provides additional maneuvering space which will allow people to go out and fish off of the platform safely.

A two-mile universal access trail is currently planned at the headquarters site for the World Birding Center. Not only will the trails be wheelchair accessible, there will also be opportunities for other people with other disabilities to visit the site. For example, there are plans to provide signage in Braille for the blind. Other areas that are affected by the new outdoor developed area guidelines that Infrastructure is working on include camping facilities, trailer spaces, tent pads, shelters, fixed picnic tables, fire rings, cooking surfaces, grills, and utilities.

Next, Mr. Boruff gave the Commission an update on several projects. He started with the World Birding Center project. He encouraged the Commission to view a model of the project that was on display. He stated the schematic design phase for the project is complete with approval from all the communities. The interpretive planning for the Benson site has started and Infrastructure’s Force Account crew will be on-site the following week. Construction on the hawk towers is scheduled to start at the end of December. In the middle of next year, trails and boardwalks for all three sites are slated for construction.

He then gave an update on the Texas Rivers Center project. This project includes a partnership with Southwest Texas and the Corps of Engineer (CoE). The initial interpretive planning phase has started. Phase I includes the restoration of the Inn as well as some upgrade of the infrastructure to accommodate phase II. Phase II is scheduled to start late next year once the Corps of Engineers has done some demolition work on part of the structure. The CoE is saving Texas Parks & Wildlife close to a quarter of a million dollars with this partnership.

Texas Parks & Wildlife’s first design-build project was launched last year at Possum Kingdom Fish Hatchery. Phase I is complete and includes a million and a half dollar improvement to the hatchery. Phase II to replace much of the infrastructure is scheduled to begin this next January.

The next project Mr. Boruff discussed was on Austins Woods. The project includes a canopy boardwalk through the trees allowing the public to view the habitat. There will also be two and a half miles of barrier free interpretive trails allowing people with disabilities to also view the habitat. A draft master plan is scheduled for presentation to the Mitigation Bank Review Team for review.

He announced that next month a “Remember Pearl Harbor 2001” commemorative ceremony is planned for December 6th through the 8th. The three-day event will be held at the National Museum of the Pacific War, formally known as the Admiral Nimitz Museum. Activities include outdoor exhibits that emphasize the creation of a true-to-life World War II environment. Visitors will be able to step aboard the scene of the hanger deck of the aircraft carrier, USS San Jacinto and approach a South Pacific PT Boat Base preparing to sortie a mission.

He concluded his presentation discussing the passage of Proposition 8. He thanked the Commissioners, Mr. Sansom, Executive Director, and Lydia Saldana, Communications Director, for all their hard work in getting the bill passed. The bill provides over $32 million in funding for five specific development projects as well as funding for the remaining $15 million in backlog needs and provides an additional $54 million to prevent another backlog from occurring. He then gave detailed information on each of the development projects. At San Jacinto Battleground, $12.1 million will be used to restore the battlefield to its historic level and also provide interpretation of the battle. Over $12.5 million is for dry dock and berth repairs on the Battleship TEXAS. At Sheldon Lake State Park, $2.6 million is allocated to build the Sheldon Lake Environmental Education Center. An additional $1.1 million is allocated to repair the former Nimitz Hotel and ballroom theater at The National Museum of the Pacific War. The bond will also provide $4.1 million to create a new state historic site interpreting the African-American heritage of Texas at the Levi-Jordan Plantation.

Commissioner Avila gave closing remarks to the other Commissioners with regard to the expenditure strategy of Proposition 8.


VI. ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Commissioner Idsal adjourned the November 7, 2001 meeting of the Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Committee Agenda Item No. 1

AD HOC Infrastructure Committee
Chairman's Charges
January 2002

(This item will be an oral presentation.)

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Scott Boruff

Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee
Proposition 8 Briefing and Issues
January 2002

I. Discussion: The Commission will be given a presentation on the strategy of Proposition 8 bond implementation.