The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

New media facility could bump photo lab

Ben Smidt

A plan to move the Hibbard photo lab and replace it with a media center is raising some concerns with faculty and students.

Although not concrete yet, the more than $1 million plan is the first step in a series of three major renovations UW-Eau Claire could begin work on as soon as 2005.

The media center plan calls for the television and radio stations that are currently housed in Haas Fine Arts Center to move to Hibbard Hall 105.

The Communication and Journalism Department and facilities management director Stephen Horner put together a plan for the media center and submitted it to the UW System for review. The review of the plan is expected back midway through the summer, Horner said. Only after the System approves the plan will more concrete plans be made in regard to the new center.

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This media center project came as a result of other renovation projects planned on campus including a multi-million dollar addition to Haas Fine Arts and multi-million dollar changes to the Campus School corner.

The photo lab

Concern over what will become of the communication and journalism wet lab during and after construction has been expressed by students and instructors in that department.

Plans to move the journalism lab to a proposed photo lab in Haas Fine Arts Center are a part of the building’s expansion, Horner said.

Gene Hood, chair of the art department, said this was only mentioned in passing to himself or members of his department. Art and other departments in Fine Arts have received one proposal back from the UW System.

When the art department submitted their request to the System for a larger photo lab, it was unaware that it would share the new facility with the communication and journalism photo students, Hood said.

“I think there was a kind of misunderstanding of room use,” he said.

The UW System did not grant the art department its full request for the new photo lab. It was the only part of the proposal that was cut, Horner said, adding that what they did receive is much larger than its current facility. Currently the art department has a 1,400 square-foot photo lab. The journalism photo lab is 3,000 square feet.

The new facility that the UW System recommended for Haas Fine Arts is 6,000 square feet, Horner said.

Addressing concerns

Senior Colin Crowley has taken photography classes in both the art and communication and journalism departments. “I transferred here from Madison because they didn’t have a program like this,” Crowley said to the CJ class.

Associate professor of communication and journalism, David Hansen, is trying to place students in overload for his intro photography classes next semester.

“This is one of the most well-loved electives in the university,” Crowley said of the intro photography course.

“I want what is best for my students,” Hansen said, declining to comment further about moving to the art building.

Members of the communication and journalism faculty met with Horner Wednesday to discuss plans for construction. David Gordon, chair of the communication and journalism department, said there must be a place to teach the photojournalism course even if both facilities are under construction at the same time.

Horner addressed concerns over the possibility of losing both labs for a time during construction. “The plan is not to abandon the teaching or the needs of these students,” he said, although there may be a semester or two where the class will not be offered unless other arrangements can be made.

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New media facility could bump photo lab