This summer the Learning Resource Center underwent long-awaited renovations, including updating the bathrooms, adding storage space to the Media Lab, purchasing computers and creating a new convergent newsroom, the Triangle.
The Triangle houses the Threefold Advocate, which moved from the Honors house. The newsroom replaces the theater-style classroom, 121.
“Before I came to work here, I worked with the division chair and the department on the idea of the Triangle,” said Marquita Smith, head of the communication department. “There was going to be a need for a multiplatform newsroom and a redesign of the curriculum.”
Smith said today’s organizations want to work through several platforms–social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, TV, radio and especially the web. Thus, a student who wants to work in communications will probably find the job also requires a good understanding of web and social media.
The new location is more accessible for staff and students. The communication department is preparing its students for the changing times in the communications world. For example, an emphasis on digital journalism stresses a multi-platformed education, as opposed to a more traditional print medium.
Four of the new emphases will reflect the old majors in the department. The five emphases are Digital Journalism, Radio/TV/Web, Public Relations, Social Advocacy and Multi-Context. The department will continue to offer a drama minor.
Opportunities for communication students include: the Threefold Advocate, KLRC, Speech and Debate Team, JBU TV 5 and Golden Eagle Productions.
“This program is vital and prominent,” Smith said.
The Threefold Advocate is working on a digital site where content can be updated immediately so that students do not have to wait until Thursday for news.
Senior Anali Reyes said she was a little taken aback when she saw the new space.
“We went from being in a back room of the Honors house to a modern facility actually located on campus,” Reyes said. “The central location will not only bring us closer to the other communication majors but also lets people know who we are and, most importantly, that we exist.”
This newsroom is in a safer location for students working on the paper.
“I wanted them to have a secure environment to work in,” Smith said, adding that The Nesher, the University yearbook, also moved to the communication department.
The Media Lab is also enjoying newly remodeled space, said Ben Benton, coordinator of information technologies. It added storage cabinets to make up for lost space.
Ed Ericson, vice president of academic affairs, and Kim Hadley, vice president for finance and administration, found some funds to allow for the Media Lab to build cabinets along the back wall, Benton said.
“We have also gutted out the closet behind the front desk to allow for more room,” he said.
The Information Technology department also purchased four new computers that are now available for use in the library.
The bathrooms throughout the LRC have been updated as well. The old retro décor is now coordinated with the school’s colors. The greys, light blues, and dark blue give the LRC a more modern feel.
Mary Habermas, director of library services, said they had been asking for renovations to be made on the bathrooms in the LRC lobby.
“There are always prospective students and their families going on tours through the LRC,” Habermas said. “I thought it would be nice for them to have more modern facilities, and the restrooms were in need of renovations.”