October 12, 2012 by Julia Casciato
Despite a multimillion-dollar renovation to the URBN Center, which offers a host of new amenities to the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, some programs within the college are staying in their original facilities.
The majority of CoMAD programs are now housed in the URBN Center, but there are programs still housed in MacAlister Hall, University Crossings and the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Center.
The digital media program was one that transferred from Crossings to the center, leaving behind the cinema and television programs.
“I think sometimes we feel a little overlooked. We have a lot of good equipment, and I’m thankful for that, but we still feel overlooked. … It’s a little disappointing when we think about how much tuition we pay,” Ariel Benton, a junior majoring in film and video, said.
Cost and need influenced which programs moved. Current facilities that are able to support their program were not moved, as University officials decided that it would be unnecessary and too costly. Programs that are showing growth and are in need of new facilities were given first priority for space in the URBN Center.
“From day 1 we knew the URBN Center, at over 130,000 square feet, would not accommodate the entire college, and we made decisions on what to house in the center based on [programs’] most pressing needs for space that had to be added,” Allen Sabinson, dean of CoMAD, said.
The Cinema and Television Department has been housed in the basement of University Crossings since the facility was built in 2005. Modifications have been made to make it more accommodating to the needs of the programs.
“From comments I have heard from students and faculty, the facilities are still serving us well,” Sabinson said.
Enrollment for most of the cinema and television programs has been steady for the past few years, whereas other programs within CoMAD have been growing and are in need of the additional space.
“Digital media left [University Crossings], which opens up space, and we can use it more flexibly. … We happily welcome additional space and the opportunity to spread out,” Andrew Susskind, program director of television production and media management, said.
The performing arts department has had an increase in enrollment over the past few years. Consequently, the theater program will be moved into the URBN Center Annex upon its completion in January.
“The black box theater will allow us more flexibility with production schedules, types of shows we can produce, and the sizes of professional companies we can partner with to bring co-ops to campus for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the entertainment industry,” Nick Anselmo, the director of the theater program, wrote in an email.
The black box theater will be used for smaller partnerships with professional companies that are of interest to the University.
“The partnerships will give our students valuable experiences in the theater,” Anselmo wrote.
Even with the new space, the Mandell Theater will continue to be used for larger productions, such as musicals and the Mandell Professionals in Residence Project.
Even if students do not have their program housed in the URBN Center, they will still have access to the facility and its equipment and will have the opportunity to take courses there.