Old FAMU DRS gets new occupants

The building that once held grade school students in its classrooms is now replaced with college students from Tucker hall.

The old FAMU Developmental Research School has become the temporary holding spot for Tucker Hall classrooms and offices while construction is being done to improve the building.

David Jackson, chairman for the department of history and political science, said the relocation should last for two years, and while the move was difficult and the building is small, it is worth it.

 “It’s been difficult, but we are happy that better times and days are ahead,” Jackson said. “Hopefully when we move back to Tucker Hall, the facility will be state-of-the art, and any sacrifices that we make will be well worth it.”

Jackson said that the move came about the last week of the 2009 summer session and at one point, they were back and forth between buildings because of Internet and telephone connections.

“We’re in smaller cubicles and it’s not the best situation, but I’ve been trying to keep them [relocated teachers] focused on the new building that we’ll be moving back into as opposed to where we are,” said Jackson.

Clinton Smith, professional engineer in facilities planning and construction, is confident that the building will be innovative and up-to-date with technology.

“We’re upgrading the entire building and adding a big atrium that will be two stories tall,” said Smith.

Construction on Tucker Hall started Aug. 31, and the $16.8 million project has a targeted completion date of Fall 2010.

Some of the students who had classes in Tucker hall are not happy about the temporary location because of the tight space, limited parking and the distance between classes and faculty offices.

“I think it is inconvenient,” Jessica Mclemore, a 24-year-old senior psychology student said. “My classes are in the B.L. Perry building, so I have to come all the way over here [FAMU DRS] for a question.”

Sophomore mechanical engineering student Derell Williams, 20, agrees with Mclemore saying that FAMU DRS is a small and hot building.

“It took me 20 minutes to get to class,” Tampa native Williams said with anger in regards to not being able to find his classroom at DRS after making the lengthy trek from his car to the building.

Sophomore pharmacy student Theora Brooks, 18, from Fort Lauderdale, said that she was confused about where her classes were when her class schedule only said FAMU Development School.

Although some students complained about the temporary location, other students understood the placement.
“I think it’s good for the University,” said 20-year-old junior pharmacy student Range Herring from Orlando. “I think it’s going to be great when they update Tucker and Jones. I think students need to understand that it’s a process and some obstacles you have to get over. After they do all that, everything will be fine.”

 Nevell Owens, religion professor at FAMU, said he is happy about the renovation plans for Tucker Hall. He said his main complaint about Tucker Hall was the lack of smart room technology.

“I know a lot of the classrooms will have smart room technology, which will be a mass improvement over blackboard and whiteboard writing,” Owens said. “It will make things easier as an instructor to get things to students.”

Owens said Jones Hall has not moved yet, so FAMU DRS is housing mostly FAMU’s science, religion and humanities courses.