Film growth prompts renovations

By Makaio Smith
Atherton High School

It’s crunch time when it comes to completing the School of Journalism and Broadcasting’s renovation project at WKU. 

The idea for renovation occurred about a year ago, said Teresa Jameson, office manager of  SJB. The actual work started May 17 with a deadline for the main changes to be finished by Aug. 1.

She said the renovations are mainly geared toward the film and broadcasting majors, which reside on the third floor of Jody Richards Hall.

For just that one floor, the estimated cost is about $158,000. This includes all of the equipment, electronics, planning, design and construction.

“Right now, for this section here, we estimated around $118,000 just for the renovations,” Jameson said. “We’re still working on all of (the equipment) costs, but it’s going to be closer to about $40,000.”

After the film program started about five years ago, enrollment has steadily increased. As interest goes up, the cost for the program and the faculty have also risen, Jameson said.

“We have a very dynamic faculty,” Jameson said. “They will blow your mind because they are really good and know what they’re doing. There are about 200 students in the broadcasting (program) — film is close behind. Photojournalism is at a little less than 100 and journalism is at about 140 enrollment.”

As for the increased interest in film study at WKU, the office manager attributed it to the lack of options for students “this side of the Mississippi.” 

“There’s one down in Florida and there’s a couple of other smaller ones, but none that can do what we’re going to do.”

In an email, Jameson said the renovations will help WKU’s film program position itself in the Commonwealth “as the only comprehensive 4-year film curriculum focused on the scripted storytelling offered at a public institute.” 

The equipment will include RED cinema cameras, 4k televisions, a DaVinci Resolve board, Avid mixing boards, Avid ProTools and a recording booth.

The SJB’s third floor will also include completely new editing bays, a production studio and final suites. 

“What we are doing is putting in equipment that they are going to be able to walk out there and use that same equipment,” Jameson said. “We’re not talking about using old antiquated equipment anymore. It is up to date, with the latest boards, cameras and computers.”

Other renovations will include repurposing some spaces with presentation rooms and new technologies that will include updated radio equipment, scanners, computers, soundproof doors and soundproof panels. The school changes its computers every five years to keep the program up to date.