Imagine Communications students sipping coffee in a state-of-the-art center in Annenberg while checking their e-mail or viewing student films. Well, during the fall semester, this will become reality as the Annenberg Hall renovation project nears completion.
Temple students returning to the School of Communications and Theater (SCAT) will be greeted with the Joe First Media Center, a multimedia hub contained in an atrium connecting Annenberg Hall with Tomlinson Theater.
” It’s a drastic change that I am excited about. It will be a shot in the arm to elevate the school (of Communications and Theater) and its already high reputation,” said Ed Fischer, director of development for SCAT.
The main entrance to Annenberg Hall, located on 13th Street, has also been renovated and enlarged.
The media center is named after Joe First, a man who served as a mentor and guide to major contributors H. F ” Gerry” Lendfest and Walter Annenberg at Triangle Publications.
First was a trustee at Temple until his death in 1995and his son, Jonathan, earned a Communications degree from Temple in 1966 just months before his death.
Construction on the $3 million atrium began in late May after the completion of classes and is scheduled to end in late August.
The remaining aspects of the project, which include the installation of wiring and new computer technology, should be finished by the first week of October, and the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the center will take place at the beginning of November.
A design team consisting of SCAT dean Concetta Stewart and several other consultants and faculty members conceptualized the atrium, a pet project of Stewart’s.
It will house a cyber café serving coffee and pastries, a reception area, and a screening area where film students can show their projects.
The second floor of the atrium will house the Blitman Resource Center, where students and faculty will be able to take advantage of upgraded, cutting-edge technology in a digital library. Students will also have the opportunity to borrow laptops from the new laptop-lending center.
Additionally, the atrium will contain a ” video wall,” a large display screen where news channels such as MSNBC and CNN will continuously be shown.
SCAT students from different disciplines will be able to congregate in the atrium.
” There’s a lot of overlap with the different positions, and disciplines are merging. Before, we had no social space to unite students. Now they have a place to do projects, to show work, to conduct screenings, and to just mingle,” said Fischer.
University fundraisers enabled the school to contribute half a million dollars to the center’s total $3 million price tag, while the remainder was paid for by donations from the Lendfest and the Annenberg families.
SCAT alumnus Jane Kramer Sullivan also played a crucial role in the completion of the center, according to Fischer.
Sullivan helped to coordinate the dozens of contracting companies hired for the construction of the atrium.
Fischer believes that the renovation of Annenberg Hall will serve as an image booster for everyone involved with SCAT.
” A benefit of the new atrium and entrance is the sense of pride it will instill in alumni and students,” he said.
Jessica White can be reached at email@example.com