School of Business Leaving Murphy Opens Vacant Offices

By Joe Pinter, News Editor, @JPinter93

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (April 18) – Carole McNall watches the new business building slowly come together.

Workers lay brick atop the façade. The green insulation steadily disappears behind it. But a journalism and mass communication professor at St. Bonaventure University has one question: What will happen to her building when the new business building is completed?

“I am curious as to what decision will be made about the vacant space in Murphy Professional Building once the business school moves out,” she said.

The school of journalism and mass communication and the school of business both share Murphy. But a building to be used solely by the business school will be finished by July.

And even though the business school, which occupies roughly two-thirds of Murphy, moves into the new Swan Business Center in three months, a decision has not been made about what to do with the vacant space in Murphy, said Pauline Hoffmann, dean of the journalism and mass communication school.

Hoffmann said that the journalism and mass communication school may get the majority of the vacant space.

“I know that we are going to get probably the bulk of the building, but it’s still unclear,” said Hoffmann. “I think the administration is still talking about whether or not another department might join us.”

The decision will ultimately be made collectively, Hoffmann said, but that decision may take up to two years, since planning for the vacant space only started recently.

McNall said now would be a good time to begin the conversation about relocating departments.

Many English, classics, philosophy, theology, sociology and political science professors have crammed spaces in the 50 offices in the basement of Plassmann Hall. But the conversation about moving to another building hasn’t even come up yet, said Lauren Matz, an English professor.

Phil Winger, associate vice president for facilities, said the university still has not decided what to do with the two dozen soon-to-be-vacant offices in Murphy.

“There isn’t going to be a whole lot of change for the fall semester,” he said. “People don’t want to be moving their offices during school. Then there is the planning process which runs through the summer. It will lead to some changes over Christmas break.”

Because of these circumstances, Winger said the university decided to take its time to come to a decision about the changes.

“We’re going to get Cannon Design, our architects, to come up with a master plan,” said Winger. “Cannon Design is going to help us look at proposals for the use of that space. That’s going to happen over the summer.”

Hoffmann said she would be meeting with Michael Fischer, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Brenda McGee, chief financial officer, about ideas for the building. Afterwards, she said they would meet with the architects and faculty to make sure everyone has a say in the process.

Hoffmann said one of her plans would be to use most of the building to expand the school’s curriculum.

“My hope is to expand the broadcast/film aspects altogether,” she said. “In the next couple years I would love if that’s its own major. But right now I’m not quite sure what that is either or how that’s going to look. That’s certainly something we would have in the plans.”

Also, a way to further incorporate current technology such as the television truck next to the Reilly Center would be part of the new curriculum, Hoffmann said.

Joe Phelan, a sophomore journalism and mass communication major, said he wants a building more accommodating to the students.

“I wish Murphy would be used only for journalism and mass communication,” he said. “It would be nice if the old business rooms could be made into a film lab or a larger broadcast lab.”

In the meantime, Hoffmann said the journalism and mass communication school plans to overhaul the journalism curriculum by the fall.

But Winger said for right now, the offices from the basement of Plassmann that may get the chance to move into Murphy might not wish to.

“The offices in Murphy are all in a common hallway and they aren’t all grouped together like how the Plassmann basement is mostly set up,” said Winger. “And I’m not sure necessarily that everyone would like the change.”

Matz said she hadn’t put much thought into possibly moving her office, but that she enjoys the current location of it.

McNall said she likes the idea of Murphy being used only by the journalism and mass communication school, but she said that may be unrealistic. The office of communications, currently located in Francis Hall, might be a good fit for the vacant space, she said.

At least her office hadn’t been leaking lately, McNall said. The ceiling occasionally leaks – another reason she would like to know what her building will or will not look like by next spring.

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