Out with the old, in with the new

Tucker Hall’s year-long renovation has finally come to an end. The newly restored building was opened to the public at the beginning of this fall semester.

Tucker Hall has been a part of Florida A&M University’s history for over 60 years. Constructed in 1956, it was named after Thomas DeSaille Tucker, the university’s first president. It has withstood many renovations around the campus. But in early fall of last year the “old” Tucker Hall was slated for an update. The renovation process went on for the entirety of the 2009-2010 school year. If the students’ reactions are any indication, the finished product was a success.

“I’m speechless to see it before and now,” said Lazaro Diaz, a second year criminal justice student from Miami. “It’s crazy what one building’s transformation can do to lift the look of an entire university.”

One group directly affected by the newly constructed building is theatre students. In addition to Lee Hall, which served as the performance space during Tucker Hall’s renovation, they now have a new facility in the Charles Winter Wood Theatre. Marci Stringer, a professor of Theatre and Performance Arts expressed her sentiments on the new theater.

“It is spectacular. I am dramatic, but that is not an exaggeration,” she said. “This will encourage my students to do their best because they are in the best.”

To some students and professors it was long overdue.

“It looked ancient…it feels new now,” said Nadia Deravine, a third year political science student from Miami.

Many of our educators were not happy with the move, but they realized that there was a greater purpose for it and most are pleased with the final result. Victor Eno, a political science professor, was displaced by the renovation and forced to move to a small cubicle in the old FAMU Developmental Research School.

“There was not enough space (in Tucker Hall); it was uncomfortable.”

Contracted by the Ajax Building Corporation, the final cost of the renovation was $16,600,000. This is not the last of FAMU’s renovations either: Jones Hall is currently under construction and phase three of the Campus Recreation Center will also be underway in the near future.

The university’s faculty and student body seem to be content with the changes and look forward to a future of education and creativity in the building. Tucker Hall marks the beginning of a larger period of growth for the university, and the growth seems to be quite welcome. “This new building is impressive,” said Eno. “I am very proud.”