Scripps College to retain portion of former Baker Center
ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 7, 2007) -- Scripps College of Communication Dean Greg Shepherd met with faculty and staff Tuesday evening to unveil a plan to house the college in one facility that combines the former Baker Center and the Radio-Television Building.
The preliminary concept, which Toledo-based architectural firm The Collaborative Inc. finalized this week, involves renovating a portion of the former Baker Center, renovating the Radio-Television Building, and removing a part of Baker to construct a new section that will connect the two buildings.
"I think people will be surprised how well the former Baker Center and the Radio Television Building will be integrated," Shepherd said. "I'm pleased that the concepts for the building meld our program needs for space and technology while also serving both functional and aesthetic purposes."
The building plan features a town square on the main ground level, accessible by main entrances on East Union and College streets. A coffee shop and newsstand will help the building to maintain its historical role as a gathering place. In addition, the main floor will house galleries for professional and student work and a 250-seat multipurpose auditorium and performance stage. Most of the classrooms and laboratories will be located on the lowest and highest levels of the building, with faculty and staff offices on the second and third floors.
"The key is the town center and the fact that the students and faculty will be able to flow together," said David Mould, chair of the faculty and staff committee that worked with the architectural firm to help develop the plan.
The Collaborative, which conducted program and site analyses, recommended rebuilding one section of the former Baker Center in part because it has support columns that would interfere with creating larger spaces required by the college's programs and because the current building foundation won't support the construction of additional levels.
"If you look at Baker, there are columns everywhere," Architect Frank Beans said. "We said let's scrape everything out but keep the basic structure."
Upon the building's completion, slated for 2012, all five of the schools within the Scripps College of Communication will be housed under one roof. Currently, the units are located in nine different buildings on the Athens campus. The college will maintain the use of Scripps Hall and Sing Tao.
The total project cost is estimated at $34.4 million, with $30.7 million for the former Baker Center and new construction portions and another $3.7 million for rehabilitation of both the Radio-Television Building and Scripps Hall.
Many in attendance at Tuesday's forum saw the building plans for the first time. Questions ranged from topics such as the location and the number of classrooms to whether each school will have a space that reflects its individual identity.
"This isn't necessarily the building design but a (concept) design to show that this could work," said Ohio University Assistant Planner Dick Planisek.
Additional forums for the university community and the public will be conducted to provide feedback during spring quarter.
"It's a really pretty design," said Jan Slater, associate director of the Scripps School of Journalism. "(The firm) worked with a really difficult building to see how it could work without tearing (Baker) down."
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