By Theresa King, Managing Editor & Senior Reporter
The Equinox: What stage of planning is the university at for the multimedia/television studio for Becton Hall?
Dean Patti Mills: This project involves the fourth ﬂoor of Becton Hall and consists of two main parts or phases – an expanded and upgraded Multimedia Lab; and an expanded and upgraded TV production and digital editing studio. The new Multimedia Lab (MML), formerly located in University Hall, was completed last year and is open for classes. The second phase of this project, the new TV production and digital editing studio, is currently scheduled for Summer 2020 according to the FDU Facilities Master Plan. There were some upgrades this past summer to the current studio located in University Hall, including new set monitors, a high deﬁnition video switcher, a new lighting board and LED lighting.
Equinox: What has delayed the development of this project and what has the university done to move it forward?
Dean Mills: As explained above, the ﬁrst phase of this project has been completed. Just like any other institution with a large amount of physical plant, FDU has to prioritize its building, renovation, and other such improvements. A high priority for the Metro Campus has been to renovate Becton Hall, starting literally from the ground ﬂoor up, to make it a centerpiece in support of STEM study (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at FDU. We also needed to accommodate a large inﬂux of students, and new programs and courses coming on line, in the computer science, engineering, and technology areas; the labs supporting these areas were a priority within the project. The remaining facilities planned for the fourth ﬂoor of the building, as well as conversion of the old auditorium on the river side, will cap oﬀ the project.
Equinox: How do you think this project could benefit students and the campus community?
Dean Mills: One reason for relocating the Multimedia Lab and TV studio to Becton Hall was to stress the linkages with engineering and computer science given how technology has transformed communication and media. While communication and computer art students have a natural interest, the MML is also envisioned as having a campus-wide role since it serves students across majors seeking to harness multi-media technology to explore their interests or to enhance their career prospects by taking coursework based in this lab. Indeed, our students led the way in this – instructors in the area reported an increasing number of students from business, technology, and other majors taking their classes to supplement their major courses. We hope the new TV studio will play a similar role.
Equinox: Could this project result in the development, or improvement, of courses related to TV and film production?
Dean Mills: Film production is a strength of the Florham Campus; the focus at Metro is on TV news, sports, and entertainment. A big beneﬁt of the new studio will be more space for instructors and students to work and the ability to oﬀer new types of classes, such as lighting design.