At the close of the fall semester, students and faculty of the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism vacated the building to make way for an almost $8 million renovation that will upgrade the school's digital infrastructure, making it a state-of-the-art learning facility.
"The holiday season was even more exciting than others have been," said Jerry Ceppos, dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism. "For the first time in almost 18 years, we are temporarily relocating so that our journalism building will be the most up-to-date in the country."
The reason for the activity is a $7.9 million grant awarded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation of Las Vegas. With the grant, the Reynolds School of Journalism will remodel its dramatic atrium, soon to be called the Ted Scripps Atrium after one of the School's most distinguished alumni. The changes also will create a new multimedia newsroom and new quarters for the revitalized Reynolds National Center for Courts and Media.
There also will be a touch-screen directory and photograph archive of graduation classes, new places to sit and innovative signage.
"What will be most noticeable at first will be the atrium," said Rosemary McCarthy, assistant professor and academic chair of the School of Journalism. "It will become livelier with a big video screen on one wall and a new light and bright donor-recognition area on another."
The first floor will house a new graduate study seminar and lab suite, a multi-media newsroom and a completely updated broadcast suite.
Other updates to the entire building will include new furniture, carpeting in some areas and new projection equipment in labs and classrooms. However, probably the most anticipated change will be the fast server, able to deliver files of all kinds throughout the building - to the screen in the atrium and to every desktop. This will make the labs faster and capable of handling more material, helping meet the foundation's and School's goal: to match the facilities to the continually evolving curriculum, with the goals of preparing every student to write clearly, think analytically, practice ethical journalism and be comfortable with every technology.
"It will still be our building," said McCarthy. "We're not totally changing the character of the Reynolds School because we love it. But in many ways, it will have a fresher feel."
During the remodel, computer labs and the graduate-studies area will be in the William J. Raggio Building, where the College of Education is headquartered. Faculty offices will be on the sixth floor of the Ansari Business Building. Additional lab space will be above the studios of KNPB, the public-broadcasting station located on the University campus, and camera equipment can be checked out of Room 1004 of the Raggio Building.
"We expect students to return to the building for the spring 2012 semester," said Ceppos.
Construction will take place January through December 2011, and may be finished sometime in early fall. Then, during the fall semester, equipment will be installed, brought online and tested, and faculty will receive training on the new equipment.