Features added to new Annenberg building


As the Wallis Annenberg Hall materializes, the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism has revealed more about the technology that will be integrated in the new building.

The building, which is being constructed near the Pertusati Bookstore on the corner of Watt and Childs ways, is on track for completion in May 2014 and set to open in fall 2014, according to Manager of Facilities Operations and Management Charles Peyton.

Assistant Dean of Operations James Vasquez said the renovations will allow the school to live up to its academic vision.

“It’s for the first time in the history of this school that the school has the opportunity to build a foundation or an environment that meets its curricular expectations and vision,” Vasquez said. “The expectation is that it’s going to include an environment that has a central hub or, as the dean puts it, ‘Village Green’ — a location that’s going to connect all of the spaces within the building itself.”

In addition to the new 88,000-square-foot, five-story building being able to accommodate a 2,200 student population — compared to the existing building, which was built to serve 100 — all student-run programs, such as Annenberg TV News, Annenberg Radio News and Annenberg Impact, will be converged into one space. The old space, however, will be used for office spaces and some classes, Vasquez said.

Peyton said one of the main programming goals of the project was to make it as unique as the students it will house.

“The idea is that not all programs are alike not all students are alike, and that’s a really positive thing,” Peyton said. “We really expect to have spaces that encourage students to come in and configure the spaces as they need or move from a space to another that is more conducive to what they’re working on or who they’re working with.”

To meet these goals, the project includes plans to build laptop lounges for group and project meetings as well as a series of study rooms and lobbies with movable furniture available for students to reserve.

Some students expressed high hopes for the construction of the building and are impressed by the progress thus far. Nicole Zerunyan, a junior majoring in public relations, said the renovations coincide with the changes occurring in an industry becoming that is becoming more reliant on digital media.

“Annenberg students are going into a digital world,” Zerunyan said. “I think having the new building will progress us as students. I think that being able to do that in college will help us in our future.”

Aidan MacAluso, a sophomore majoring in public relations, agreed that the new building represents the progressive direction of the industry.

“I think it’s important that you stay current in public relations and journalism,” MacAluso said. “I think that it’s very fitting that Annenberg is always up to date, and I think that creating the new building symbolizes this.”

Even for students like Angela Blakely, a second-year master’s of journalism student, the renovations will provide a more realistic experience.

“Since it will look more like a newsroom, I think more incoming students will feel that they are actually going to a school that’s putting them in the real life experience of being a journalist,” Blakely said.

Watt Way, between Childs and Downey Ways, will continue to be closed until April 2014. The roads closed down for construction will be re-opened in the fall 2013.