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An enhanced version of the music department’s listening lab will be available to students and faculty this spring, with one major change.

It will be located in McIntyre Library instead of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

The new lab is being developed in the Center for Research Instruction Materials in the McIntyre Library.

“Our creditation demands that we have listening facilities,” music department chair David Baker said.

The first 1,000 CDs to be added to the collection have been ordered and are being catalogued. When finished, the listening lab will include this new CD collection in addition to the current collection, two group listening stations, cassettes and video format, Baker said.

The CRIM center will contain open stacks of materials so students can help themselves.

The listening lab in the Haas Fine Arts Center only allows faculty members to check out materials. The lab contains UW-Eau Claire concert recordings, records, educational materials for theory classes and over 1,300 CDs.

Dubbing equipment and CD players allow students to record and listen to materials without leaving the music department.

The convenient location of the current listening lab has some students questioning the value of moving the lab to the library.

“The only problem I have with the CRIM is that it’s across the bridge, so if I want to listen to the piece I’m playing for my jury, I have to stop practicing and make a special trip across the river instead of just going to the listening lab in Fine Arts,” sophomore music education major Sean Solberg said.

But Baker said the move also will provide substantial advantages for students. Library materials such as music scores will be readily available for use with recordings and will provide an enhanced learning process. Materials can be checked out overnight and the CRIM will have more hours of operation than the current listening lab.

“We’re building from the ground up and are creating a completely new collection,” Baker said.

The current listening center will turn into a faculty and student resource room, Baker said. It will be used for faculty research and study and collaborative work with small student groups.

The present CD collection will be maintained and most of the old audio equipment will be replaced, Baker said.

“Our current listening center is just an antique,” Baker said with a smile.

“It did not conform to our crediting standards. I think the students will discover that this will be a much better facility,” he said.

“I believe that although the CRIM is a little farther away, the benefits provided by the facilities outweigh a short walk,” senior music education major David Strong said, adding that being able to check out materials and the expanded hours will benefit students once they get used to the new location.

“Fortunately, now everything has come together and the move can be made,” he said.

“I think that many music students wouldn’t have a problem with the CRIM if they would have had some say about moving the listening lab,” Solberg said.

The listening lab in Fine Arts will continue to be used through the spring semester.

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