Unfinished photo labs leave students out in the cold

Students enrolled in black and white photography this semester find themselves without a lab for the last three weeks of classes.

The third floor of Banneker Technology Building B closed Nov. 15 to begin renovations, but the photography labs in the new School of Journalism and Graphic Communications building are not complete.

The color photography labs will still be held on the basement floor of the technology building.

As students entered the labs Nov. 14, they could visibly see a change in the arrangement. The black and white photography lab’s film loading station room had been emptied of its cabinetry, and some of the enlargers had already been removed from the darkroom.

A number of students worked to get their last projects in before the lab closed.

“It rushed my project,” said Jordan Derr, a junior graphic design student from Pleasantville, N.J. “If I had more time I think that it would have turned out a little better.”

One student was upset at how the abruptness of the move.

“They did not give us any kind of warning,” said Candice Carrington, 18, a freshman photography student from Fort Walton Beach “It sucks because I am a photography major. I feel cheated.”

Some professors knew about the move, but did not find out until later in the semester.

“I don’t know that I was officially informed that the labs would be closing until the decision came down through the chain of command. I am not exactly certain about the date, but it was well into the semester,” said Dominick Gheesling, a photography professor.

Florida A&M University is renovating the third floor of the technology building to house new office space, said Arvid Mukes, SJGC associate dean.

“We were told that the people in charge of renovations needed a certain amount of time to complete it,” said Mukes, director of the Division of Graphic Communications.

SJGC Dean, James Hawkins, said another university program will be moving into the space the photography department will be leaving behind.

“There was a request given from academic affairs,” said Hawkins. “They told us that we needed to vacate that space.”

The faculty and students had to make sure assignments and final projects were turned in before the lab closed Monday.

“It was up to the professors to have all the projects done in time,” Mukes said.

Hawkins said his instructions to the faculty were to continue on with instruction, and to use the time without the lab to do other things.

“Students should not feel that they have lost something due to the inaccessibility to the labs,” Hawkins said.

However, students will not have to worry about the labs in the new building.

“Between the first and second week in December we will have the labs up and running in time for the spring semester,” said Mukes. 

Hawkins added that the labs would be ready for instruction in January. The photography professors are looking forward to having the new labs.

“Florida A & M University has always drawn students to the photography program through the strength of the professors. With the addition of the new equipment, we will have one of the top facilities east of the Mississippi, and I can hardly wait to see the results of our efforts,” Gheesling said.

For now, photography students will have to work around the inconvenience.

Contact JacqueLynn M. Hatter at lynn_hatter@hotmail.com