The Return to Taylor: Connectivity key for student media in revamped hall
Sept. 8, 2011 (by Laura Anderson, "Gunnison Country Times") -- After 100 years of evolution, Taylor Hall has finally blossomed into a state-of-the-art building chocked full of integrated classrooms, computer labs, lounges and offices.
Arguably the biggest change to Taylor Hall, which is the original building of Western State College of Colorado (WSC), is the new student media facilities. A new KWSB radio studio and two-story sound studio for film are the pride and joy of Communication and Theatre (COTH) faculty and students alike.
These new spaces will allow students to gain valuable hands-on experience in film and television production, as well as radio station management and audio production.
According to Terry Schliesman, COTH professor and KWSB general manager, connectivity is the greatest improvement to the new student-run radio station.
“We have integration in the system that we never had in the old Taylor,” Schliesman said, adding that every little detail was considered in the remodel, “all the way down to the conduit in the wall connecting one studio to the other.”
Schliesman said that the new facilities and working areas will allow for a better layout for students to interact and collaborate. Also, all the facilities are surrounded by windows that allow passers-by through the halls to look in and see what students are working on in the studios.
“We’re more visible, which means we’re front and center on the student body’s mind,” Schliesman said, “It’s (the students’) station and they will continue to take ownership of its operations.”
Schliesman hopes student involvement will create greater integration with the whole Communication Arts, Languages and Literature Department, where other departments can utilize the space as a teaching tool or showcase their respective abilities.
“Our goal was to create a space where students lost themselves, where they could capture talent and pass it on to an audience,” he said.
KWSB’s new facilities are completely integrated and connected with its neighbor, the new sound studio for film and television production.
According to Alan Meyer, a junior COTH major with a film emphasis at Western, Mountaineer Media will most likely be the biggest user of the new sound studio. Meyer, who is the senior producer for Mountaineer Media, said the goal of the organization is to teach students to work in both television and film production.
“It’s an opportunity to learn where you don’t have to pay a bunch of money for a class,” said Meyer.
Tory Maurer, technical director of media at Western, said that things have changed a lot since he was a student. Then, Mountaineer Media was based in a make-shift studio never meant for the multimedia uses required of a modern production studio.
According to Maurer, who oversees all the new media facilities in Taylor, the new facility will give students more options than they previously had. To put the technical viability of the sound studio into perspective, Maurer, who attended grad school at UCLA, said that the new equipment is “as good if not better” than UCLA’s.
“Now we have a sound stage which can be used in any number of ways,” Maurer said. “The possibilities are limitless, and are really just based on students’ imaginations.”
Meyer said he hopes that through Mountaineer Media’s utilization of the sound studio, students can further their education.
“Our main plans are to work out of our new space so that students can get to use it outside of classes,” said Meyer.
As with most endeavors on a college campus, the purpose of the new facility is to educate students. Maurer said the new sound studio, which includes a “green screen,” will allow students to build sets and have complete control over technical aspects of their film productions.
“It’s an amazing teaching tool that elevates our program to a whole other level,” said Maurer.
This, it’s hoped, will in turn attract students.
“Now we have something to show incoming students, that our (film) program is real and legitimate,” said Maurer. “Our program is viable and is producing students that are getting jobs in the industry.”
According to student Meyer, Mountaineer Media is a good way to continue a film education in a more in-depth way than a semester class can offer, including experiencing different software and equipment than might be taught in the COTH film curriculum.
“Mountaineer Media is a great way to be prepared for the real world,” said Meyer.
Yet with all transitions, progress can be slow-going.
“Like every group stuck in Keating last year, we’re just trying to get stuff going,” Meyer added.
Schliesman expressed a similar sentiment:
“There’s a perennial level of reticence, but we’re here for students to use to empower themselves and run themselves.”
Both Meyer and Schliesman encouraged students and community members to stop by the new facilities in Taylor, stressing that you don’t have to be a student to get involved.