Audio labs in Dunham to expect upgrades, renovations

Freshman mass communications student Anna Gentelin, of Alton, Illinois, resets the levels on an audio mixer prior to working on a project for the mass communications department.

As podcasting continues to grow in popularity, faculty in the Mass Communications Department and administrators, have set plans in motion for the renovation of the audio labs in Dunham Hall.

Associate Professor in the Mass Communications Department Musonda Kapatamoyo took the initiative to get administration on board to renovate the audio labs.

“The Mass Communications Department is trying to revamp the space for audio lab production because we have seen an uptake of podcasting across the country,” Kapatamoyo said.

Kapatamoyo said the audio lab area, which has not been renovated for 25 years, includes both a classroom space with three audio stations and a studio space. The majority of the renovations will be done in the classroom area.

Vice Chancellor for Administration Rich Walker helped with the planning of the reconstruction as well as finding the funding for the project.

“This is going to make  [the Mass Communications Department] a competitive audio lab that is as good as any in the St. Louis area,” Walker said.

Broadcast Journalism Professor Tom Atwood uses the audio lab frequently with his students for projects. Although  Atwood’s classes try to utilize the room, he said it has old equipment that is not up-to-date for audio production classes like Atwood’s.

“I think the administration is interested in making this a more attractive space for students. My reason for wanting this to happen is that, right now, it’s not really a workable room,” Atwood said.

According to Atwood, although the audio lab is meant to be used for classwork, the space is just too old to be utilized. For Atwood’s classes, lecture hours are held in a different room and students go down to the lab when needed.

This space will now be transformed for its intended use. Lectures can be held in the audio room and students can also use the equipment.

“We are trying to reinforce the audio part of the curriculum, which has been on [the] decline for years for a lot of reasons. At the same time, there are a lot of students who are very interested in audio and radio production, so for us to rebuild that part of the curriculum, we need a space to do it. We’ve needed it for years,” Atwood said.

According to Kapatamoyo, the renovations will cost $66,000. The project includes new flooring, a new ceiling and walls, a smartboard and updated acoustic panels. There will be three soundproof booths for recording as well as new microphones, chairs and tables for the classroom.

Kapatamoyo said the College of Arts and Sciences and Rich Walker both helped find the money to fund the renovations.

The renovations will begin as soon as the spring semester concludes to avoid interference with classes and student projects. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer, according to Walker.

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