Enough excuses: Finish the Comm Arts facilities


Photo credit/ Brigid Sabine

The radio station, 91.7 VMFM, is still unfinished.

Brigid Edmunds, News Editor

The Learning Commons has been up and running, more or less, since the semester started. Students have been able to use the space to study, socialize, and work on presentations and projects. 

But, there is one group of students that has been unable to use the space to its fullest potential: Communication Arts students.

As a senior Comm Arts major, I find it unacceptable that it’s mid-October and the radio or television stations are unusable.

In the recent Editorial Board meeting with Sr. Anne, I asked her about the unfinished facilities. She said the delays were the result of a damaged antenna and other equipment setbacks. Peter Kilcullen, associate vice president for marketing and communications who sat in on the meeting, explained that these sort of delays happen all the time in the “professional world,” and compared the situation to housing projects being delayed by subcontractors.

There was a delay in equipment and the antenna, but the primary reason the studios are not yet finished is that there was also a delay in the building being finished on time by the general contractor.

According to Dr. Michael Mirabito, Communication Arts department chair, and Ernie Mengoni, coordinator of broadcast operations, the unfinished building delayed the radio and television station subcontractor, The Lerro Corporation. Because the building was not ready for Lerro on Aug. 1, when the company was scheduled to begin work at Marywood, they had to work on other contracted jobs and delay our facilities.

The delays in construction are alarming for both students and faculty within the Communication Arts department. Without access to our radio and our television stations, practicum hours, the in-house field experience hours students must complete in order to graduate, had to be reduced from a required 45 hours to 25 hours. Translation: We’re getting half “class time” when we’re paying for full class time.

In addition, certain courses, such as Video Production I, are supposed to teach students how to work in the control room of the television station. Since the television studio still isn’t finished, the entire course has had to be reworked to make up for the lack of studio space. Instead, students are learning how to shoot video in-field, which is still a valuable skill to have, but the foundation from in-studio work is essential to their first-year education.

The biggest setback is for seniors, who will now only have this space for one semester. This goes beyond a broken promise; this is compromising the final leg of our education. As seniors, we must produce a capstone project in our final year at Marywood, similar to that of other majors. Any student who wished to use the studio as a filming space for their capstone is now two months behind schedule, and he or she may even have to go back to the drawing board on a project they’ve been planning for almost a year, or potentially, their entire time at Marywood.

The first open house for Marywood is also coming up on Oct. 24, and we have two unfinished studios. What will our department have to show prospective students?

When we got the news of the new facility, we were understandably excited for this upgrade. This is not to suggest we aren’t still excited. We are. There is no doubt that when the facilities are completed, they are going to be professional and state of the art, something lacking in our old facilities in the old Learning Resources Center.

But midterms have come and gone, and while everyone else is using the Learning Commons for their work, Comm Arts students still can’t.

It’s about time our administration stops making promises they can’t keep.

Contact the writer:  [email protected]