The School of Communication and Media’s new building has suffered delays during the construction process and, over spring break, another issue delayed progress. The roof on an old portion of the building was lifted. High wind gusts caused the roof to de-laminate from the substrate, tearing the membrane and eventually allowing water to enter the building. The area that was affected was the control room for one of the completed studios. The studio is being controlled now from a temporary location while repairs are being made.
The new School of Communication and Media building, which has been under construction since 2015 and was originally set to open at the end of December 2016, is now going to open officially in June of this year.
“The original delay had to do with excavating for the building’s footings,” said Shawn Connolly, vice president of University Facilities.
The workers discovered several buried utilities abandoned in a place not noted on their maps. The delay of the new building continued because the employees had to work around the buried utilities before they proceeded any further.
“This is not uncommon in a 100-year-old campus,” said Connolly.
Not only did the construction take extra time because of the buried utilities, but also due to the high-end technology that was provided as a result of the university’s recent partnership with Sony. The equipment came exactly at the time they began construction, and incorporating Sony’s 4K and high-definition technology into the project design came with its own set of challenges because the construction team had never worked with technology of this type.
In order to ensure the best final product, the contractors were very careful in this part of construction, which slowed the progress of the building.
Although the delay of construction has made plenty of students anxiously wait to use the building, the acting, dance and performance studios and Production Studio B are all complete.
Toni Blockburger, a freshman dance major who used the new dance studios, said, “I like the new ones. It sets the environment, the older ones have poles in them and holes, and this one’s better for bigger classes and space for dancing.”
However, Julissa Espino, a sophomore physical education major with a minor in dance, said the new studios are nice, but she is upset that some of the dance studios are going to be taken away to make room for other programs despite the overpopulation in the dance community on campus.
When completed, The School of Communication and Media will unite Morehead and Life halls into one building.
Connolly said, “The contractor is in the final stages of construction, and Sony is right behind them with the technology.”