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College moving forward with new projects

By Keenan Weaver

Meetings took place at Loyalist College this week to figure out the basic layout of the new integrated newsroom project.

Jane Harrison, dean of media arts and design, has been formally requesting an upgrade for four years on what is currently one of the biggest capital projects in the school.

The new integrated newsroom will be put in the former Early Childhood Education center, which shut down over the summer due to costs.

The integrated newsroom project is expected to be done and ready for occupancy on May 1, 2013. Costs for the renovations are still being worked out as the plans begin to take shape.

Harrison feels the centralization of the media programs will help students learn the business in a real-life environment.

“If you really believe in the philosophy of training professional journalists who can just navigate all the platforms then I think it’s very important to have all the facilities in one place so that fluidity of communication is executed,” she said.

Harrison said it’s to keep up-to-date with industry standard situations and demand.

“We can’t train people for what journalism was, we have to train people for what journalism is and what it’s going to be, and I think this is hugely important.”

Meetings on Wednesday will bring all relevant members of faculty together to make sure their needs will be heard.

“It’ll be all the faculty, support staff, IT services and facility services, everybody who needs to be consulted so the design has everything we need,” said Harrison.

Much of the equipment will remain the same, as media departments recently upgraded their technology. However, Harrison said that they’re looking into TriCaster technology, a one-stop shop for mobile journalists.

It’s a means for students to work on one centralized computer that can do graphics and video work as a studio or mobile device. Five cameras can be hooked up at a time for editing complex stories, something journalism professors push for in the later years of the program.

“We’re looking at ultimate flexibility,” said Harrison.

“This solidifies the fact that the college is entirely behind our approach to journalism training. It’s a great vote of confidence in the school and in the programs, because it’s also the central part for when the photojournalists work on the paper, the sports journalism and the Trent-Loyalist journalism students as well,” she said.

The integrated newsroom project is just one of several capital projects in the works around the school, including plans for a new welcome center.

It’s aimed at making the student experience a smooth and simple process by having administrative services together in a central hub.

Laura Naumann, director of student enrolment services and registrar at Loyalist College, said a change would be great for students both starting fresh and returning to Loyalist.

“I think it’s something that’s really important for renewal and the constant evolution of the customer service here at the college and I know the staff here is very excited in moving forward and for the opportunity to change and move forward,” she said.

Naumann recognizes the changing student population, saying that more people are learning from a distance. The new welcome center would help students connect with staff both physically in the school and over the phone or Internet.

“We have to make sure we’re meeting the needs of who our students are today, not who they were 20 years ago.”

The renovations will move faculty from various departments around to fit the new layout. Necessary services including financing, student success, continuing education and more are likely to be included.

The current registrar’s office will be gutted to make way for the administration hub. Faculty is in the process of deciding who should be involved in the welcome center and its layout. While some offices may be moved around, Naumann says layoffs are not expected.

Naumann says construction should begin this April, with the welcome center ready to segue students into the new school year.

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