DUC construction plans to improve student media collaboration

| News Editor

Construction on the third floor of the Danforth University Center (DUC) to reorganize the student media area and incorporate the Gephardt Institute for Public Service will begin after spring break.

The construction will take place in three phases, says Director of the Danforth University Center Leslie Heusted, and aims to foster collaboration between the different student media groups.

The first phase, which will begin March 19 and is slated for completion on June 1, will include moving the Gephardt Institute for Public Service into the suite that is now used as the Print Media Center (PMC). The new PMC will be built next to Student Life’s current suite.

“I think the advantage of putting all the media students together, including StudLife, will let students utilize the space better and incorporate the opportunity for collaboration,” Heusted said.

Heusted added that moving the Gephardt Institute to the DUC will make it more accessible for the University and the external community, and helpful to the Gephardt Institute as well, as most of their partners are located in the building already.

The second phase, to be completed by August 1, includes plans to rebuild the recording studio and move it into the WUTV offices, consolidating WUTV into a more functional and interactive space, Heusted said. It also includes building a student media lounge.

“This is one of the coolest parts of the construction, because it will be an open space for media students to get together,” Heusted said.

The third phase, the start and end dates for which are still undecided, will begin sometime next year with plans to move the KWUR suite to the unoccupied shell space on the third floor above DUC room 276.

KWUR’s current suite is located in the basement of the Ann W. Olin Women’s Building, which will soon undergo construction due to new fire codes, forcing KWUR to relocate.

“You can’t run a radio station without a permanent studio, and I think the plan has all along been to move KWUR up to the DUC,” KWUR treasurer Robert Ling III said.

As part of the move, KWUR hoped to replace its outdated radio equipment, most of which was hand-built by KWUR employees and wouldn’t be easy to transport to the new suite in the DUC.

“All that stuff has been stretched right now and we’re hoping to replace our entire server infrastructure,” Ling said. “Get some new machines, digitize our music, stuff like that. Hopefully as part of getting a new station we’ll be able to update some of our legacy equipment

However, KWUR did not receive the block funding it had applied for, which it hoped would help pay for equipment in its new studio.

Other student media groups will be affected by the move, and the University worked closely with students in the planning of the construction.

“We told them the general layout we wanted,” senior and Washington University Political Review Editor-in-Chief Corey Donahue said. “Our new suite will have centered tables with computers that will face each other, a TV (which we don’t have now), [additional] and better designed storage space, and a separate meeting area.”

Heusted explained that the students were integral in the planning process.

“All the groups have been really available and interested, giving lots of feedback,” Heusted said. “We hired a particular architect who really values the people who will be working in the spaces he designs, so there was a lot of opportunity for conversation.”

Ling agrees that the architect worked closely with the students to make sure their needs were accommodated.

“The KWUR exec staff has been working directly with Kurt, the architect they hired. We’ve gone back and forth with sketches,” said Ling.

Although the source of the funding has not been decided for all aspects of the project, the new PMC and the Gephardt Institute offices will be supported by the University.

The rest, Heusted said, will hopefully come from several different sources, including the DUC, Student Union and other individual groups within the University.