Furnishings, faculty set to move

Jessica Sasseen

Setbacks have plagued progress for the Mass Media and Technology Hall. But after a long wait, classes are set to begin in the building in August.

Project Manager Danny Simpson said furnishings for the new building will be moved into the third floor starting May 6. As soon as the furniture is in place, faculty can begin moving into the building.

Second floor furnishings will move in May 17, and the first floor will start moving in July 7, Simpson said.

The building is an $18.5 million venture, which will hold the School of Journalism and Broadcasting, as well as Information Technologies. Mass Media and Technology Hall was scheduled to open in spring 2003, but opening was delayed due to negotiations between the state and the construction company.

John Osborne, associate vice president of Campus Services and Facilities, is optimistic about the building’s opening.

“At this point, I think we’ll get occupancy of the building as early as May,” Osborne said. “I have no reason to believe that the building won’t be ready for the fall semester. We wish to get in that building as soon as possible. It’s premature to suggest that we may not be in in August.”

Simpson said crews are currently working on carpeting, floor tile, ceiling tile and air conditioning.

“Right now, we’re getting down to all the finishes that are going on,” Construction Manager Ed West said. “We have been given dates for completion, or to start moving into the building, which doesn’t mean occupying the building but (to) start moving in.”

David Lee, dean of Potter College, said the building must be ready for classes in the fall.

“I think it absolutely has to be ready,” Lee said. “It’s too important to our instructional program. The School of Journalism and Broadcasting is so equipment intensive, it’s going to take a while to get it set up and functional.”

Christopher Roberts, manager of the School of Broadcasting and Journalism computer laboratory, said he has doubts about whether the building will be ready for classes.

“I think it will be interesting because the date keeps getting pushed back, and it’s going to be a time crunch at the last minute,” Roberts said. “We’re still not sure it’s feasible to get everything done for classes next fall, but we’re hopeful.”

He said there will only be two weeks to get all the equipment up and running before classes begin.

“When they give us the ability to move into the building, there’s still a lot to do on our end, like equipping labs and making sure everything is up and running,” Roberts said. “After we are allowed to go into the building, there’s still stuff that we have to step up.”

Lee said the prospect of trying to move classes after school starts is daunting, but he doesn’t think that’s going to be necessary.

“I’d like to have (the building) by June 15, but that may be too much for even me to be optimistic about,” he said. “If it’s not ready, we’ll just have to make other arrangements, and none of those are particularly attractive right now.”

Reach Jessica Sasseen at [email protected]