Delays hinder new building

The plans were made, the ground was broken and now the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication’s new building is nothing more than a pile of dirt surrounded by a green fence.

The building, which is to be located across from the School of Business and Industry, has been a vision in the making since 1995. In January 2002, the ground was finally broken and construction was to begin.

Sam Houston, the director of Facility Planning and Construction said site work has to be done before the actual foundation can go up.

“We’ve been working on site work such as storm water runoff and other utilities. That has to be done before we can start on the foundation,” he said.

“Phase 2, which is the actual construction should begin in two or three weeks.”

Despite Houston’s prediction, Dean Robert Ruggles of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, said construction has been delayed for months.

“I was told first that construction would begin in May, then September, now it’s January,” Ruggles said. “The site was crisscrossed and most of the lines were underground. They had to do a lot of work to relocate utility lines, chill water lines and telephone lines.”

Ruggles said construction should take about 18 months, meaning the new Journalism building will be open to students in the late spring or early fall of


Because the journalism classes are held in Tucker Hall and the graphic

communication students are in the Banneker Building, some students think that the new building will help to bring SJGC together.

“I think it’s time for a new building. It’ll be a good change of atmosphere,” said Kagerald Brown, 21, a senior graphic design student from St. Petersburg.

“There will be more technology and it will give the graphic design students and

the journalism students a chance to really meet each other.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Janelle Fulford, 21, a junior graphic design student from Palm Beach. “Now the graphic design students can be closer to the FAMU

family instead of distant cousins. We have so much talent, but so little resources as far as the building goes.”

Bringing the students and faculty within the School of Journalism together is

something that Ruggles said he wants to see also.

“The faculty only meets once a month so there is a physical and psychological

distance. I think the new building will help the faculty to learn from each other as well as the students,”he said.

The new building, which has no official name yet, will consist of four floors, 100,000 square feet, two television studios, 16 editing suites, faculty offices and lounges, a student lounge, a 125 seat lecture hall, four medium sized classrooms and nine computer labs.

The new building will have facilities that mirror those of major newspapers around the nation.

“We are going to have a multi-media newsroom that will include The Famuan, WANM, and Journey Magazine, which will be near the online area. It will really

be convergence,” Ruggles said.

Although plans have been delayed, the SJGC is anxiously waiting for construction to begin.

“We have already mounted a camera in SBI to record the process and how it progresses,” Ruggles said.

Since the building will not be completed until 2004, many juniors and seniors will not have a chance to work in the new building.

“To the freshman and sophomores, the building will be here before long. To the juniors and seniors, I’m sorry they won’t be around to be in it” Ruggles said. “Once everything is in one building, students can be better rounded professionals”.