About five years ago, Dr. Bob Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, was told by Ohio University administrators at a meeting the plan was to move the journalism school out of Scripps Hall.
“Over my dead body,” Stewart said. “I threw a hissy fit in front of everybody, so I did not go peacefully into the night.”
The plan was to build the new College of Communication building where Baker Center is, but Baker was decided on first.
If the communication building was built there, the journalism school would have stayed in Scripps, where it has been since 1986.
Instead, the Schoonover Center for Communication is being built right next to the radio-television building, so the journalism school had to move to be closer to all the other departments.
Journalism faculty will move in next year and the Visual Communications College and College of Communication will move in the following year.
“I have mixed feelings about the change,” journalism professor Hans Meyer said. “I understand the logic of bringing everybody together and I think that could really lead to some good collaborative classes for students and some collaborative research.”
The change also affects students because the building will be able to be used by all departments, not just journalism.
“I understand why they are changing, but honestly I think they should have stayed just because they have been in this building for so many years and made many upgrades,” senior journalism student Matt Digby said. “Why fix something that’s not broken?”
With the change inevitable, Stewart decided to have an event where students could say goodbye to Scripps Hall.
Stewart called on Scripps Impressions Account Executive and sophomore journalism student Billy Hartman to plan the event.
“Dr. Stewart described it as a wake to Scripps Hall so we kind of went off that and came up with a farewell to Scripps Hall,” Hartman said.
The event was held on April 26, the week before the end of the school year, and was open to all students who wished to come celebrate.
At the event, Stewart’s son Ben’s band Hunnabee and the Sandy Tar Boys played live. There was free food delivered from Brenen’s café, as well as a slideshow made for graduating seniors and a picture of Scripps that was to be signed by all the students and will be hung in Schoonover when the building is finished being built.
Toward the end, Stewart played a few songs on his guitar for the students before the event wrapped up.
“This was a way to say goodbye together, give it a good, proper send-off, give it a good hug and then let’s move on,” Stewart said.
Phase two of Schoonover will not be completed until the fall of 2014, which is when classes will begin there and all the departments will move in.
Despite the initial anger, Stewart now understands the need to change.
“Over time, I’ve definitely seen the value of moving in because I’ve realized there’s a lot of really good stuff going on in the college and the more our students work with students across the colleges the better it’s going to be, I definitely get that,” Stewart said.