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Building to become academic, communicaation hub



Several classrooms, computer labs, broadcasting studios and offices are in the works for mass communication as it prepares to move to a building which once housed Caulk Hardware.

The Office of University Communications will also be moving to the renovated building which should be completed within the next year to year and a half, according to Otto Tennant, vice president for finance and administration.

Tennant said meetings have been taking place between the various communication divisions and an architect. The areas involved with the new facility are going to include the Office of University Communications, the WLCU broadcasting station, creative designers and the mass communications’ academic department.

Extensive work is still to be done on the building due to an unsuitable roof and the interior layout, Tennant said.

He said there will need to be computer labs, classrooms, sound proof studios, professors’ offices and offices for both print and broadcast added to what essentially is a building shell.

Tennant said students will likely spend a lot of time in the building with all of the offices under one roof and the administration wants it to include what the students, faculty and staff need.

With the changes coming to Nancy Cox Drive, Tennant said, “Our footprint on Nancy Cox is growing. We can make it a state-of-the art place.”

The building is surrounded by three acres of land which allow space for any additions that are necessary as well as adequate parking for students, faculty and staff.

The facility has added 16,000 square feet to CU’s campus, Tennant said.

“This will allow them [the mass communication department] to grow.”

Joan McKinney, director of university communications, said, “The students will be able to have their classes, see their advisor and do work-study and internships in the same building.”

Stan McKinney, lead journalism professor, agreed with Tennant about the department’s growth.

Stan McKinney also said students will have a better opportunity to work with all the mass communications disciplines since everyone will be in one building.

“This will be an impressive facility that will allow for students’ needs to be met.”

Jeannie Clark, director of broadcast services, is excited for the new opportunities the building will bring.

“We are in need of the space. So in order for our program to grow, we need our living space to grow.”

Broadast services has six full-time staff in two offices. The current building’s classroom, Clark said, also serves as a newsroom and kitchen set.

Both broadcast and the journalism departments agree that they will be able to better prepare students in the new environment.

“The students are why we are here and we want the building to suit their needs,” Joan McKinney said.

Caulk Hardware is just under a mile from campus. Tennant said there is concern about students getting to and from their classes and the main campus.

There has been discussion, he said, about the addition of a shuttle service to CU’s campus in order to alleviate the issue.

Stan McKinney expressed concern regarding the scheduling of classes, due to the facility’s distance from campus and said, “We will have to be smart about scheduling.”

The details regarding the service are still in the works, Tennant said, and nothing is definite.

Whitley Howlett, a freshman from Louisville, Ky. and work-study in the Office of University Communications, said, “I think it will be good to get everything in one spot and allow for clearer communication between all the departments.”

According to Tennant, the building is projected to be finished by the beginning of the fall 2019 semester, if the work needed is strictly internal.

If an any additional construction is needed to the outside of the building, such as an addition, then the project could take another six months.

“Having everyone under one roof has long been my dream,” Stan McKinney said. “Just having a staff meeting at present is difficult because we are in three different locations. There’s also a duplication of efforts sometimes because it’s sometimes difficult to know what students at each location are doing.

“We want this building to be a showplace with state-of-the art broadcast facilities and computer labs plus enough room for everyone to be comfortable and to easily be able to work together.

“We also need room to grow.

“At present, we have 73 students in our programs. I believe we can easily double that within a couple of years with the move to our own building.”