The 67-year-old Agricultural Education and Communications building is getting a facelift in the spring and summer of 2017.
With 16 faculty members, 30 graduate assistants, and nearly 300 students in the department, changes are being made to bring the facilities to a more modern level.
Mary Lou Flom, administrative business assistant in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, has been with the department for 38 years.
“Being here for 38 years, this is home,” Flom said. “I think I spend more time here than I do at my house.”
There are four remodeling projects scheduled for the AEC building with the first being renovation of the department’s main office. Changes will consist of adding closets for storage and making room for the staff.
Interim Department Chair, Scott Burris, said the office is the entrance and the face of the department and it is what visitors and students encounter when they come in for the first time.
“That is our entry into the building,” Burris said. “So, we wanted to make sure that it represented of the kind of image that we wanted projected in our department.”
The second scheduled renovation project is a subdivision of classroom 206 to make it a state of the art observation-style teaching and research laboratory space with a one-way mirror. This will contribute to the scholarship submission of the department, will help develop teachers, and also in research design through focus groups and other innovative research technologies.
The third and fourth renovations are scheduled to occur simultaneously over the summer. In the department, there will be an elevator shaft going from the first and second floors. The elevator will be accessible for everyone. This will move the entrance to the 116 classroom and graduate offices.
“This is a long and much-needed asset,” Burris said. “This will bring us up to accessibility requirement standards.”
Burris said the existing men’s restroom/locker room and the janitor’s closet downstairs are going to be reconfigured and split up more equally to have a larger women’s restroom and a smaller men’s restroom. The current women’s restroom will become a special access restroom.
Burris said in a department that is about 75 percent female with only one spot at the women’s restroom this renovation will help solve that dilemma.
Flom said when she first started she was one of the only female staff members in the department, other than three faculty members and one graduate assistant.
“When I first started here there were no girls in the department,” Flom said. “It was so rare, and I was the only girl forever.”
These updates will better reflect student enrollment and give access to a nicer facility.
“We have a great faculty and exemplary student performance,” Burris said. “I think our building contributes to the climate for that.”