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Funds Approved to Create Media Lab
at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Feb. 8, 2006

Karen Kremer Andrew Soll
Karen Kremer
Andrew Soll

EAU CLAIRE — The State Building Commission has approved funding for a new state-of-the-art media lab for communication and journalism students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The $1.4 million project, slated for construction in 2007, will create a media lab in Hibbard Humanities Hall, which will include modern technologies used by most news organizations. The approved funding will cover the planning, construction and equipment costs associated with the project, said Andrew Soll, vice chancellor of business and student services.

The project will allow the communication and journalism department to move its television and radio programs from Haas Fine Arts Center to Hibbard Humanities Hall, where all the other programs in the department are housed, Soll said.

"I can't say enough good things about the benefits of this project," said Karen Kremer, chair of the communication and journalism department. "Our faculty will be united. And our students and faculty will have the learning facilities they need."

The communication and journalism professions are rapidly changing and curriculum must be updated to meet the needs of the profession, Kremer said. Equipment and supporting facilities must be updated from analogue to digital, she said.

"The technology included in this project will help us provide educational experiences that will prepare students to be successful in the job market," Kremer said. "Information, images and video in the media of print, TV and radio broadcast, and the Internet are gathered, prepared and distributed using primarily digital technology."

The media lab will include radio production and broadcast rooms, a combined media/newsroom, reporter work stations, news desk, instruction and observation areas, news broadcast control room, storage, a video editing room, an audio editing room and digital photography workstations.

The print production studios will be remodeled, and conference/interview rooms will be equipped to provide video/audio recording equipment for broadcast journalism while continuing to serve as conference rooms.

Three offices in the new space will house faculty and a lab supervisor.

With funding approved, the Division of State Facilities will now select an architect for the project, and a campus committee will be formed to work with the architectural firm to design the lab, Soll said.

If all goes as planned, construction will begin in May 2007 and the lab will be ready for use during the 2007 fall semester, Soll said.

"This learning facility and the activities that will take place in it will become one of UW-Eau Claire's Marks of Excellence," Kremer said.

Hibbard Hall was built in 1974 to house the College of Arts and Sciences, with the exception of science, fine arts and social science departments. At the time, communication and journalism were two separate departments, with communication located in the Haas Fine Arts building and journalism in Hibbard. The programs were combined into a single department in 1994, with all its space moved to Hibbard except the instructional spaces for television and radio, which remained in Haas Fine Arts Center.

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JB

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