Dr. Margaret Fitch-Hauser sits comfortably in her new, spacious office on the main floor of Tichenor Hall with clear windows, a fresh coat of paint and new desk furniture. This is a nice change from her old office in the dull basement of Haley Center, which had no windows, wall color or cell phone service.
This fall, Tichenor Hall reopened its doors to students and faculty after undergoing major renovations for the last three years. The 1930s building, home to the Department of Communication and Journalism and the College of Liberal Arts administrative offices, was in major need of renovation. The conditions were less than appealing with out of date heating and plumbing systems and underutilized classrooms and office space.
“Tichenor had too many small classrooms and not enough office space for faculty,” says Fitch-Hauser, the department chair for communication and journalism. Now there are three classrooms, two on the first floor and one large classroom on the second floor. All the classrooms are equipped with tech systems to make learning better, including a MAC and PC lab.
Students and faculty have responded very positively to the move. “We now have the appropriate space needed for our department; many people have said it feels like we are back home,” she says.
Rachel Pegues, a senior in communication, says she enjoys attending class in the new building. “I feel like I know so many more of my classmates now that we have a common place to hang out and work, it has brought sense of community among me and my peers.” she says.
According to Fitch-Hauser, the move went very smoothly, especially when taking into consideration the size of the building. The moving committee was headed by Dr. Debra Worthington and they were responsible for organizing boxes and getting rid of out-dated furniture and documents. The university provided professional movers to help move the furniture, tech equipment and boxes across the concourse to its new home. It took about a week get everything unpacked.
When asked why the renovations took so long in the first place, Fitch-Hauser responded, “We were never given an exact time frame how long we would be out of Tichenor. We were told it could be anywhere from a year to 5 years but we are glad we are back here now.”
The vacant space in the basement of Haley will be occupied temporarily by the Department of Education.
Now that the Department of Communication and Journalism has been back in Tichenor for nearly a semester, students and faculty can work feeling back at home.