Story by Tiffany Martinez
Video by Colton Rowe
Cameron University has recently completed renovations to the Academic Commons.
The remodeled student union is adjacent to the Cameron Exchange, located just off University Drive. It now houses several new classrooms, office space for Greek organizations, computer labs, as well as student newsrooms and a student television studio.
President Cindy Ross has been overseeing recent changes to both the building and the rest of campus.
“The construction of the Academic Commons has taken just over a year,” President Ross said. “While this is our most recent project, we have done over $60 million worth of construction in the past eight years.
We try to maintain the Cameron blend of brick while creating or renovating these campus buildings, but we also strive to give it more of a university feel.”
The idea of a university feel, according to President Ross, includes high ceilings, archways and peaked roofs. This proved to be quite the challenge, however, during the reconstruction of the Academic Commons.
“It is easier to put high ceilings in a building that you are constructing from the ground up,” President Ross said. “It is obviously more of a challenge to do so when you are renovating buildings that were constructed in 1961 — because they were built with flat rooftops.”[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/49175175[/vimeo]
With careful planning and skilled architects on the job, President Ross was pleased with the renovations of the building — and she is not the only one.
“Our focus is always the students, and what we can do to enhance their collegiate experience, as well as the education they receive here at Cameron,” President Ross said. “And I’ve gotten very positive feedback on the renovations to the Academic Commons from the students.”
One of those students is Mikaela Emmells-Greene, a Radio/Television sophomore who has found her new home in the Academic Commons.
“I am a video nerd, so my favorite part of the Academic Commons is the new television studio that my colleagues and I are creating history in,” Emmells-Greene said. “It’s so up-to-date. It’s amazing.”
Ten feet from the television studio is the entrance to the Convergence Newsroom, which has traditionally been the office space for students that study print journalism. For the first time, however, both groups of media students are utilizing the room: broadcast reporters and print reporters.
“We are slowly merging, and learning from one another. I think we have some kinks to work out in different places but the building is new as well as the concept — we are still growing into it,” Emmells- Greene said.
“I really love that the professors, equipment, newsroom and studio are finally near one another. It is very convenient for the students.”
President Ross said that the Academic Commons cost just over $4 million dollars to finance, most of which coming from private donations, and also discussed the upcoming dedication ceremony.
“At Cameron when we do a groundbreaking or a building dedication or any event, we try to do something a little different. We always have a theme and try to make it fun for the community and the students,” President Ross said. “When we did the groundbreaking for the Academic Commons last year, our theme was ‘Extreme Makeover,’ based on the television show. This time, it will be ‘Extreme Makeover: Part Two’. It will be the big reveal, so I think it will be a lot of fun.”
President Ross said university regents, community leaders and private donors will be in attendance for the dedication ceremony; students and faculty are encouraged to attend.
The dedication ceremony for the Academic Commons will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 in the front patio of the building.