Renovations to the second floor of Elizabethtown College’s Steinman Center have been pushed back to May 2013, due to a need for the installation of sprinklers.
Phase one of the renovations was finished in January 2012. The College radio station, WWEC 88.3 FM, was moved and completely redone with new, state-of-the-art audio equipment to help the DJs host and produce their radio shows. The student lounge area was also moved and will be expanded and refurnished later.
“Our old home was in the back of a classroom, which I think made it hard for people to actually know where the station was,” said junior Brett Antosh, co-station manager of WWEC.
“But now our studio is located at the very end of the hallway on the second floor, and we are now visible to everyone that frequents that area,” junior Zakiya Fulton-Anderson, co-station manager of WWEC, added. “The rest of the renovations will not only affect WWEC, but everyone in Steinman Center: students, faculty, visitors.”
Phase two has now been rescheduled to begin in May 2013 and to be completed by August 2014. This phase involves the creation of a converged media center and the expansion of a multi-media student lounge. Steinman 213 will house the Etownian, WWEC and ECTV, the television station on campus.
Because Steinman is an older building, it is more difficult to keep up to code than newer buildings on campus. The renovations have been postponed while funds are raised to cover the cost of installing a sprinkler system in the building, which greatly raises the original cost of the project.
ECTV is managed by junior Alexa Masano, who believes that the renovations are a much needed improvement. “They will greatly benefit ECTV because they will bring in prospective students, which will lead to more people helping out and getting involved,” she said. “The community room with WWEC and the Etownian will benefit ECTV because we will hopefully be able to collaborate and share ideas.”
Dr. Kirsten Johnson, associate professor of communications and department chair, believes this phase will create positive opportunities for students involved in the media outlets on campus. “These renovations will give our students a real, state-of-the-art space to work in,” she said. “This space will allow the media of the College to work together in a way they haven’t been able to before.”
Antosh said, “We are starting to work toward converged media at Etown, which will emulate a professional environment.”
“You can’t just work for a newspaper anymore,” Johnson said. “Most reporters now also work with audio and video equipment.”
Johnson feels very optimistic about this collaboration and integration of media outlets because it will allow the communications department to create new courses and use the new media center for classes.
“Students have reacted positively to the construction so far,” she said. “They get access to audio and video equipment that they haven’t had before.”
Fulton-Anderson said, “All three student media outlets will have a new space in which they will be able to work together in covering all news and events that go on around Etown. A lot is changing in the department of communications, and I am very excited for all of the renovations.”
Antosh also expressed excitement for the completion of the renovations, saying, “It will do a lot of good things for all of the media outlets here at Elizabethtown College.”
Masano believes that the renovations will benefit the future of the department. “They will bring in a lot more majors and minors, and they will bring more people who are already enrolled in Etown to the communications department,” she said.
Not many colleges, especially in Central Pennsylvania, have centers such as this. “It will make Elizabethtown distinctive among small colleges,” Johnson said.
Phase three of the plan will entail renovating and reconfiguring classrooms on the second floor of Steinman along with the department office, adding a women’s restroom, and renovating the men’s restroom.
While Steinman houses other academic departments, only the communications department will be affected by these renovations.
Diagrams and a list of the intended renovations can be found directly outside the radio station.