Yesterday they began the teardown of The Center for Media Studies (formerly Heather Hall) on the campus of Fort Hays State University. Since the mid-80s, Heather Hall served as the campus television and radio station, and hundreds of graduates entered those doors and emerged as news and media professionals.
Heather Hall, named after Jack Heather, the person responsible for launching the FHSU radio and television station in the 1950s, was a very small building; a modest 20’x30′ television studio, a video playback area, a small reception area, and three audio areas (radio control room, audio production, and radio news). It was often crowded, but cozy. Years ago, when the Walt Disney Animation Studios was on Hyperion Avenue, the animators were often crammed back to back in small offices while they were creating such classic movies as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, and more. The animators loved being on top of one another as they could collaborate and exchange ideas easily. I often thought that Heather Hall was the same way.
I spent six years as a student in Heather Hall (4 undergraduate and 2 graduate years), and for the last 13 years I was a faculty member and served for five years as the chair of the Department of Informatics. Just over two years ago I was part of the planning and development of the new Hammond Hall – the new location of the department that has grown to include Media Studies, Web Development, Computer Networking, Information Assurance, and Management Information Systems. Heather Hall was simply too small to contain it all, but the new building is large – huge by some people’s comments – and has enough room for future growth.
Hammond Hall, named after just retired Fort Hays State University President Edward Hammond, was officially dedicated this past weekend, and now that homecoming festivities are over and alumni have drifted away, the heavy machinery has rolled in and has taken down more than half of the building in a single day.
I have mixed feelings over the destruction of the building. On the one hand, I’m glad to see the building go, as it will open up the space, and is an indicator that the university is moving forward. Progress! On the other hand, there won’t be any more students that will have fond memories of working back to back and elbow to elbow as they create content.
The above image was taken with the iPhone 5, with light processing in Adobe Photoshop.