Communications building prepares for change

Zane Turner, Volunteer Writer

Many things are changing on the campus of the University of North Alabama either due to natural progression or the Coronavirus. Amongst these are changes to the communications building. 

The first being the removal of a line of trees that used to conceal parking lot K.

“These trees are being removed to eliminate potential safety risks to pedestrians walking on the sidewalk along Pine Street and to eliminate conflicts with overhead utility lines,” said Michael Gautney, the Assistant Vice President of Facilities Administration and Planning.

These trees were only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Communications Building, as Butler Cain, a professor and Chair of the Communications Department, has future plans for the building including expansions and an outdoor courtyard as well.  

Despite the communications building being one of the most technologically advanced buildings on campus, there is still some work to be done before it can satisfy Cain.

“An architecture group is working on plans to renovate the second floor of the Communications Building where the photography dark rooms are located,” said Cain.

The upstairs of the communications building has been home to photography dark rooms for some time now, but as it turns out those are not part of the communications program, but a part of the art program. 

So the upstairs of the communications building will be renovated and Cain has plans to install a gender neutral bathroom, a few faculty offices and several visual and audio recording studios for those students interested in doing podcasts or video production. 

With this comes the plan to relocate the photography dark rooms to the art building. 

This initiative will create more opportunities for students in the communications department, as well as a more suitable environment for faculty to work and be a part of.  

Included in that plan to renovate the second floor of the communications building, there is also a plan to install an outside courtyard as a place for communications students to gather and collaborate on work and be a creative environment to foster ideas and blossom careers.

“When I arrived at UNA in 2016, the department had been discussing the possibility of creating a gathering space in the courtyard area of the Communications Building,” said Cain.

“We [The communications department] commissioned some plans that included a deck and new landscaping,” said Cain.  

However, due to financial reasons the plan was put on the shelf to be picked up at a later date.  

Recently, the plans were put in for review for when the University of North Alabama has the budget and would like to enhance the overall appearance of campus.

One thing for sure is the campus is growing. Every building and every department is expanding. 

With that expansion comes new opportunities for every student as the university becomes a more attractive place for employers to collaborate with and hire out of. 

With new collaborations between businesses and the university, comes opportunities for Florence as well. No one can deny that the University of North Alabama is one of the main attractions of Florence and is directly tied to the city. 

When the university blossoms, the city will as well. As new students decide to make Florence their home, so will new businesses in order to employ the students. 

What Cain is doing is only a symbol of what is occurring in many other places on campus.  

Many things are changing around campus such as the name of Bibb Graves Hall and the rebuilding of the fountain in the center of campus.

No matter the change it’s not going away anytime soon as the Coronavirus will only foster change in not only the university but everything around the world.   

Adaptability will be the skill of the decade as people return to a new sense of normal and things such as the renovation of the second floor of the communications building can continue and society will progress and opportunities will continue to foster growth just maybe in a different way than everyone is used to. 

To see the university steadily progress in a time of stillness is motivation that good things can from what we perceive to be bad.