INC: Dean wants ‘non-summativity’ for new Scripps building
The Schoonover Center for Communication will open its doors in January 2013, implementing multimedia interaction for all departments.
Story: Cameron Glover
The class of 2013 will not only be one of the first to encounter Ohio University’s switch to semesters, but it will also discover a new, modern home for all departments in the Scripps College of Communication“ The Schoonover Center for Communication.
Located in the old Baker Center, the Schoonover Center will join all five schools in Scripps and connect on each of the four floors to the Radio-Television Building. Its title honors alumnus Steve Schoonover, who donated $7.5 million toward the $35 million budget for planning, construction and renovations. Schoonover is a 1967 graduate of Communication Studies and is the former CEO of CellXion, a company that developed and constructed cell phone towers. According to a Scripps College press release, Schoonover’s contribution is the largest monetary gift from a living alumnus in the history of the university.
Scripps College Dean Gregory Shepherd hosted a “Scripps Talk” on April 28 and discussed the importance and mission of the new building with students and faculty.
“I would argue that we have the best college of communication in the country and I can demonstrate that,” Shepherd said. “I want it to feel that way, so when people walk into that space they know they are in the best college of communication in the country.”
There are currently more than 10 different locations around OU’s campus for Scripps classes and offices. The theme incorporated in the planning of the new building is bringing all of those locations together beneath one roof to prove that each department is equally talented and recognized, which Shepherd called “non-summativity.”
He said the Journalism School is the most acclaimed program in the college, while others, such as the photojournalism sequence in the School of Visual Communication, are also performing well.
New media will be predominant in the Center.
Shepherd also wants the new facility to encourage dialogue among Scripps students and faculty from the five different schools. He plans on achieving this goal by providing a “media-rich” and social environment where people want to be.
“When you leave a classroom, you don’t really want to leave the building ??“ you want to grab a cup of coffee and hang out in the lounge,” Shepherd said.
The first floor of the Schoonover Center will contain a coffee shop, a lounge for 80 people, a newsstand, a 250-seat auditorium and a gallery to feature faculty and student work. The computer lab is being designed “flexibly” as a social work space in order to accommodate possible future changes in technology.
The exterior of the Schoonover Center provides a fresh facade to the building.
The upgrades, however, do not start there. The front exterior of the old Baker Center will be remodeled to showcase a large atrium-style entrance that will allow natural light to radiate through the building. Shepherd said there are no plans of abandoning the building’s Georgian architecture.
“We want to maintain the historical, social character of Baker Center,” Shepherd said. “We want to revamp it, so that it doesn’t feel like an office building but it feels like a place that you want to spend time.”
Students vary in opinions about the new building.
Many Scripps students are eager and ready to test out the new building, while some are disheartened knowing they will no longer be an OU student when it opens.
Alex Whiteleather, a freshman studying organizational communication, has had four courses this year in several different locations on campus.
“When the new Scripps hall opens, it will be nice to have all of my major classes in one hall rather than in many different buildings like it has been so far,” Whiteleather said.
Other upperclassmen have enjoyed their time building hopping throughout their days in Athens. Senior broadcast major Alexandria Goff said that she has appreciated the “variety in settings” the multiple locations have provided her during her college career, but acknowledged the simplicity of housing all Scripps classes in one building.
Junior Leah Fightmaster, a magazine journalism sequence, recognized the positives in both circumstances.
“The students who study [journalism] might have different sequences, but we are all communication students and we can relate to one another that way,” Fightmaster said. “I’m glad we can do this, but I think it would be great to have all communication majors together in one building.”
However, Fightmaster is saddened that she will not be able to greet the new building.
“Being an upperclassman, I am disappointed I won’t experience it, but I am excited for the underclassmen who will,” Fightmaster said.” Although, I can’t wait to come back and see it all finished as an alumna.”
How Shepherd plans on overcoming construction obstacles.
One of the greatest challenges of planning the construction for the Schoonover Center, according to Dean Shepherd, has been creating an appropriate model equipped with the newest technology and software before what is current becomes outdated.
“It’s really interesting but difficult to think about what the world will be like three years, four years, five years from now, and make sure we design a building that is not obsolete before we get into it,” Shepherd said.