Moudy to under go renovation to modernize journalism program

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    The broadcast journalism program in the Schieffer School of Journalism will receive a major boost from new construction and renovation in the J.M. Moudy building, the school’s interim director said.

    The two main changes to Moudy will both have a direct effect on the broadcast program, said Schieffer School interim director John Tisdale. A new television studio, as well as a “converged newsroom” where multi-platform journalism will be practiced, will both assist in modernizing the journalism program, Tisdale said.

    Construction on Moudy could begin as early as March 2009, although the timeline remains tentative, he said.

    “We’re trying to have a first-rate broadcast news program,” Tisdale said.

    The converged newsroom will include about 15 new Macintosh computers with Avid editing equipment, Tisdale said. This newsroom, along with new offices for faculty, will take the place of rooms 279 & 280 in Moudy.

    The plans also call for a new television studio to be built in the courtyard located between the north and south wings of Moudy. Tisdale said the office of David Whillock, dean of the College of Communication, would move from its current location to directly above the new studio.

    Patrick Bumpas, vice president of Rees Associates in Oklahoma City, which is handling the project, said members of the Rees team gave TCU officials an overview of the $5.6 million project on Sept. 16, which will be presented to Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’ Face the Nation and the school’s namesake.

    The renovation of the second floor of Moudy will be the first priority and should be completed by the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year. Although the schedule calls for construction to begin during the school year, Tisdale said most of the renovation will occur during the summer and should not interfere with classes.

    Chancellor Victor Boschini said a $1 million anonymous grant started the fundraising efforts for expansion of Moudy. Efforts to raise the remaining total are still ongoing, Boschini said.

    According to the company’s Web site, Rees has handled projects for several journalism and communications schools at various universities across the country, such as the University of Oklahoma and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rees also has plans for constructing a Center for Creative Media on the campus of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

    Bumpas said TCU’s project differs from others previously constructed because it poses the challenge of constructing new facilities in addition to the renovation of an existing building.

    Creating a converged newsroom within the confines of an existing building would be the biggest challenge for Rees, Bumpas said.

    Boschini said the Schieffer School has a much higher student-to faculty-ratio than TCU aims for, and expansion would help bring new faculty and provide space for a crowded program.

    The plans to reconstruct and modernize Moudy had previously been drawn up several years ago, but Tisdale said the process had moved on from a basic negotiation process.

    “We’re in a stage where we’ve never been before,” Tisdale said.

    Tisdale gave credit to Tommy Thomason, former director of the Schieffer School, among others for creating the initial plans to bring an up-to-date journalism building to TCU.