Change is inevitable, especially inside Murphy Hall. Over the last month, we’ve taken time to explore the history of the building we now call home. We looked way back to the time of the Harrison family, who built the building we know today to be their stables. We then jumped forward to the acquisition of this campus, turning those stables into Murphy Hall. Then of course, we were blown away by the sheer number of changes that were made to the interior layout of the building to reach the way that it looks today. It’s truly a fascinating story.

That time has come again, bringing with it an entirely new plan for what Murphy could look like in the future. Over the course of the last year, Professor Gralin Hughes Has spearheaded the project to redesign the front-left space of Murphy Hall, where the Media and Communications department resides. The main ideas here are to expand the computer lab, create a more flexible classroom space, expand the equipment room, and create a student meeting/lounge area, all while preserving the office space that is already there. The area in question stretches from the front entrance doors all the way to the MAC lab’s auxiliary space to the side of room 108. Here is a current look at the space:

Hughes has provided two concepts that could achieve all of the goals listed above, both of which are complete with full, 3-D renderings of the layout. 

The first concept feels a bit less drastic to me. It works to utilize the shape and space of the layout that’s already present rather than changing it entirely. Room 108 would continue to be its good old classroom self, however it looks like there is potential for windows to save the room from being so dark and creepy. The admin’s office would also be staying in the same location with the same layout. The other rooms bring the fun. First, even though the equipment room would be staying in the same place, the back room of room 103 (currently Dr. Alan Powell’s office) would be absorbed for more storage. This means that the size of the equipment room would almost double, allowing for more organization and more tools for us to rent out. On top of that, room 103 would be transformed into a student meeting room or a lounge. The next big change comes with the computer lab space. Currently, room 107 is an office space that has been somewhat taken over by the MAC lab. Through that office and into the next room is where the current computer lab resides, yes it is as ominous and hidden as it sounds. The new layout would essentially turn that first office into a hallway leading to the much larger computer lab and to our very own audio recording room. The lab space would then stretch along where it is now plus the additional auxiliary space for a much more organized and accessible feel. You can take a look at the first concept floor plan here:

Thanks to the hard work of Professor Hughes, we also have some views of how the rooms themselves might look in real life once the changes are made. Here’s a sneak peek of the first concept for the Murphy Hall redesign:

The second concept is just as effective at meeting the goals that were set out at the beginning, but this one feels like a much bigger change to me. Of course, there’s nothing against that, in fact I might even like this layout better. Almost the entire layout of the space changes here, creating a less mazey environment. The most obvious change here is to the right side of the layout. Rooms 107-111 are completely gone and replaced with two large spaces, one for a classroom and the other for a computer lab. Both of these spaces are much more organized and uniform than their current counterparts. The administrative office and the current entrance to the equipment room is now a smaller office and a podcast recording room. Then, just like concept one, the back room of room 103 is absorbed into the equipment room. Finally, room 103 will shift from an office space to another audio recording room. Take a look:

Just like the other concept, there are a few images of how this redesign could look when it’s completed in the future. You can check those out here:

Now with all this said and done, everyone is wondering when this could be completed by. Change in Murphy has been notoriously difficult in the past, but some professors seem to believe it could be done as early as this fall. Claire and Max got a chance to sit down with Dr. Alan Powell to talk about Murphy Hall’s creative spaces and the struggles the building has seen in recent years. In the brief interview, Powell gives some insight into the potential changes and what they could do for Murphy Hall and the students within:

Some other professors and students are not as convinced that these changes will be happening anytime soon. Holding reservations about the timeline of these changes is completely understandable since Murphy Hall has not seen changes to it’s layout for a long time. However, everyone seems to be in agreement that some kind of a change does need to happen. Whenever that may be, the professors of the Media and Communications department are dedicated to reviving Murphy Hall and helping it to become a space where students can grow both personally and professionally.

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