Funds impede completion of J-School building

After encountering more than 71 delays, the new 100,000 square- foot journalism building is scheduled to be completed by December 2004, said Sam Houston, director of facilities planning and construction.

Houston said monetary and utility problems are among the setbacks.

“Not only did we run into financial issues about payment of contractors, which caused these delays, but in addition there were unforeseen conditions of underground utility lines [which were] not apart of our survey and rainy days,” Houston said.

Although most of these issues have been resolved, the school is still short of funds for equipment and technology to be placed in the school after its completion, Houston said.

“We do not have all the funds for equipment at this time,” Houston said. “We will be requesting from our legislature $1.2 million for additional funds for the 2005-2006 school term for the building.”

Houston added that the building is funded through many sources, including the Challenge Grant, which is money the state will match for constructional projects, private funds and the Public Education Capital Outlay trust fund.

“The total cost of the new journalism building is projected at $19.6 million,” Houston said.

Although the building is expected to be completed in December, classes will not be held in the building until summer 2005, said the Dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication , James Hawkins.

“When the journalism building is completed, there will be at least 12 expanded editing labs for television students, two television studios, three complete production studios for the radio station and offices for The Famuan and Journey staff,” Hawkins said. “There will also be a multimedia desk that will bring together data from each of the student media operations and be used to create an Internet site for our students.”

Currently, the name of the building is undecided, Hawkins said.

Last spring, a controversy arose over whether the name of the building would be named after Robert M. Ruggles, the first dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, or Thelma Thurston Gorham, a former journalism professor.

“There is no rush to name the building,” Hawkins said. “Right now, we need to make sure we get the funding for the building.”

Many journalism students are looking forward to the new building’s full completion to provide them with more experience and opportunities.

“The new building will provide me with new services,” said David Dressner, 21, a senior print journalism minor from Miami.

“The new building is very important to my future in journalism because we will have the latest and most advanced technology.”

Not only are undergraduates looking forward to the completion of the new journalism building, but graduate students in the journalism program are also excited about the projected improvements to the program.

“The new journalism building will provide me with more hands-on experience with the same technology that is used in the real world,” said Reggi Marion, 24, a graduate broadcasting student from Holly Springs, Miss.

“I am excited about the new equipment and technology that the new building will provide for all of the journalism students.”

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