The Master Plan: Phase II of construction sets facelift for classrooms

The FAMU Construction and Operations Division has begun Phase II of the FAMU Master Plan. The Master Plan, devised to improve upon the campus’ existing buildings as well as to construct newer facilities, was put into motion in 2000.

Phase II of the Master Plan includes improvements to Tucker Hall, the Gore Education Complex, Jones Hall and some additions to the Recreation Center. The total estimated construction cost of Phase II is $45 million.

Phase I of the Master Plan includes the construction of a new FAMU-DRS facility that will relocate the school to South Wahnish Way, construction of the Teaching Gym that will house FAMUs physical education department as well as academic labs, the Service Center which will handle all OurFAMU online issues, a cafe that will replace the Orange Room and renovation of the University Commons.

Construction and relocation of the new FAMU-DRS facility is crucial for the continuing projects, said Karen Brown, associate director for the Facilities Planning and Construction Department.

The original DRS building will be used to temporarily house classrooms, offices and some labs for those buildings that are under renovation in order to keep construction projects from hindering campus activities.

“When DRS relocates to South Wahnish Way, then we will use that building as a transitional space for offices, classrooms and a few labs,” Brown said. “In about the next nine months Jones Hall will move to the temporary building. It should take another 12 months for renovations and construction of that building and then the next project will begin by being housed in the temporary building.”

Johnson Peterson Architects in Tallahassee will design Jones Hall and both the Tucker Hall and Recreation Center. These projects are currently in the design phase. Brown said each project is viewed individually and the Facilities Planning office is “in the process of selecting contractors for the Gore Educational Complex.”

The criteria for campus construction and renovation projects are extensive but initial decisions for renovation of campus buildings are based on the infrastructure and age of a facility as determined by the University.

“If the building is becoming antiquated and outdated by cyclic wear and tear on the building then renovations will be done,” Brown said.

Brown described the need for campus-wide renovations as part of an overall presentation of the University.

“What are we saying to students and parents looking at the school if our buildings aren’t in good shape?” Brown said.

Brown continued to say that certain campus facilities stand out as core buildings for the University and should serve as symbols of the overall functioning of the campus through their proper upkeep.

“Almost all students attending FAMU will at some time have a class in either Tucker Hall, Jones Hall or the Gore Educational Complex,” Brown said. “It’s important that these buildings maintain a good learning feeling because they are the core buildings on campus.”

The FAMU theatre department’s Charles Winter Wood Theatre is housed in Tucker Hall and theatre students are looking forward to the renovation and what they say are long needed fixes to the facility.

“Renovations here are long overdue,” said Bryan F. Mitchell, a senior theatre major at FAMU.

“The theatre is badly in need of renovation and the quality of the building isn’t up to standards.”

Mitchell went on to describe the deterioration of the theatre.

“The chairs, roof, walls, our electrical equipment, the whole thing needs an upgrade,” Mitchell said.

Valencia E. Matthews, director of theatre and assistant dean, agreed.

“The entire facility needs changes,” she said. “I’m talking about the theatre, classrooms, the heating and air conditioning, the whole nine yards.”

Matthews said although the theatre department will be inconvenienced by the construction at Tucker Hall, she is excited about the renovation.

“I am so excited,” she said. “We’ll be inconvenienced for a while, but it is well worth it to have a space that’s appropriate for students, faculty and staff.”

Matthews said during construction the Charles Winter Wood Theatre will be unavailable for use and theatre students will have to use Lee Hall for productions.

“We plan to coordinate with the Lee Hall staff to produce over there,” Matthews said.

Phase II of the FAMU Master Plan is slated for completion in 2015.