A quick walk across campus is enough for anyone to see there is a lot of change going on at Montclair State University. The construction site for the new School of Communication and Media building stretches across the entire area between Life Hall and the Sprague Library. Partridge Hall and Stone Hall are also gated off and being completely renovated. Each of these projects, when completed, will provide students with significant additional resources and innumerable ways to enhance their educational experience.
School of Communication and Media
The School of Communication and Media facility is expected to be complete and fully available for use early in the Spring 2017 semester. “In many ways, this will be the most technologically sophisticated facility of its kind at a university in the country,” said Merrill Brown, Director of the School of Communication and Media.
The building will include two new video studios, a film production studio and an upgrade to the school’s current high definition television studio, all featuring state-of-the-art technology and the latest versions of equipment. This will allow students to have far more opportunities for hands-on engagement in television and film production.
A 200-seat theater with full film projection capabilities where lecture series will be hosted, along with a variety of other special events and performances, will also be housed in the new building.
According to Brown, this facility will allow the school to hold important and high-profile public events which will enhance the university’s level of engagement with the larger community and entire region.
A large newsroom will be one of the building’s main collaborative spaces, which will allow for cross-platform newsgathering for not just students, but faculty and industry partners as well. “We’ll be working very much in the fashion of today’s digital newsrooms where journalists are expected to work across multiple platforms,” said Brown. This facility will be Montclair State’s first fully-equipped newsroom, where students will have the ability to cover news at the university and surrounding community in a much more collaborative atmosphere.
“Nobody in the area will have these kinds of technological and educational capabilities,” said Brown. These features in the new building will allow the school to better serve both its students and the 150 media organizations which are members of the Center for Cooperative Media.
“We hope the building will be a new and important part of the fabric of the creative life of our region,” said Brown. “We believe that we’re well on our way to becoming a leader in our field. Having state-of-the-art technology is another piece of the puzzle that catapults the school into a top tier of communication and media programs.”
Partridge Hall, which housed the School of Business prior to the construction of the Feliciano School of Business, is currently being renovated to become the new home for both the Graduate School, which is currently located in College Hall, and the new School of Nursing, which will be inaugurated in September 2016.
The renovated building will feature modern classrooms and lecture halls which will be fully equipped with technology. For the School of Nursing, the building will offer state-of-the-art simulation laboratories with robotic patients including adults, children and even a pregnant mother. The building will also include a mock quarantine room and home health care lab.
According to Provost Willard Gingerich, the School of Nursing will initially offer just one program, the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) program, which is designed for individuals who are registered nurses and already have an Associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. Eventually, there are plans to offer master’s and doctoral programs as well. Currently, the university is searching for a dean for the new school, along with other necessary faculty and staff.
“The School of Nursing will not only have positive benefits for the Montclair State student community, but ultimately for the community of New Jersey,” said Gingerich. “It will address the growing health care needs of the state and will be committed to programs that are reflective of New Jersey’s diverse population. The program will foster strong critical thinking, ethical behavior, excellent professional competence and informed citizenship as it prepares students for leadership roles.”
For the past two and a half years, Stone Hall held the offices of many departments serving the university community. These included Global Education, Educational Opportunity Fund and Student Academic Services, which have all been relocated. Before becoming an office building, though, Stone Hall was originally built as a residence hall and the renovation taking place will return it to its prior function.
Stone Hall will provide housing to 146 freshmen students and will offer single, double and triple rooms, according to John Delate, Executive Director of Residence Life. This will increase the total campus housing capacity from 5,200 to 5,346.
“We are very excited about this new addition to the campus housing community,” said Delate. “This additional bed total will allow us to hopefully house all students seeking campus housing next academic year.”
The building will be air-conditioned and offer a smaller, more intimate setting for residents who choose to live there. Stone Hall will reopen in Fall 2016.