The recent internal and external changes made to Ranger Hall have brought the building into the modern world, but in the wake of its completion there have been numerous misconceptions and rumors.
As a new state-of-the-art facility, Ranger Hall features many changes, including new equipment, technology and resources for all Harrington School of Communication and Media students. However, some have questioned why these changes were made or what the items were originally intended to be used for.
One of the rumors was regarding an expensive piece of soundproof glass that wasn’t being used for its designated purpose, which many people were concerned about this potential waste of funds. However, Adam Roth, Interim Director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media denied this rumor’s validity.
“Halfway through the construction process there was a very expensive piece of sound proof glass… that comes from Italy, and the contractors broke it before it had arrived on site,” said Roth. “So, it had to go back to Italy, had to be remade, and then installed. But it was installed before our grand opening.”
Another rumor was that there weren’t any printers in the building. Roth corrected this rumor as well.
“That’s not true,” he said. “There’s a printer in the digital innovation lab.” Roth also mentioned the possibility of getting another printer and putting it in one of the learning lab classrooms, as requested by journalism students who need to print during class.
The last rumor was in regard to plans including an acoustically-sound room, which later did not fit in the floor plan and was turned into a standard computer lab. Allegedly, all of the pieces for this room were purchased, but they were not being utilized. Paul DePace, director of capital projects, said that he hadn’t heard of the rumor.
“There are a couple of soundproof rooms, but if there’s a short coming in there, I haven’t heard of them,” DePace said. “But there are editing rooms that were intended to be soundproof and we implemented the design the way it was. We’re going to ask our project manager to check with that.”
“The actual planning goes back about five years,” said DePace in reference to the amount of effort and time it took to redesign and build Ranger Hall. “Usually a project of this scale takes maybe a year to design, three-four months to bid, and a year to 18 months to construct. After vacating the building, the construction team began to renovate the first floor by updating the heat and air conditioning systems, renovating the infrastructure, and making sure that all systems were up to code.”
Roth added that one of the main concerns of the planning was longevity. “A lot of the work that we did was to prepare for phase two, to renovate the infrastructure of the building to make sure that it’s strong and can stand tall for at least another hundred years,” he said.
The result of this four-year planning process and $6.3 million renovation is a facility that can prepare its students to work with the latest technology. Some of the additions in the 8,800 square foot basement and first floor include video and audio editing suites, modern active learning classrooms, film screening rooms and classrooms, an onsite advising center, a lounge with an abundance of seating and a media equipment center.
Lucinda Gonzales, a junior communication studies major, who had classes in the old Ranger Hall building was impressed with the equipment and décor updates. “I really like how nice, open, and quiet it is,” Gonzales said. “I also like how many seats there are. It’s definitely some place that I would definitely come with a group.”
Members of the URI community can expect some more changes within the basement and first floor as well. There are plans to add cell phone charging stations, classrooms, and media and videos to monitors. Roth said he is planning on adding more cameras and virtual reality equipment.
Future plans for Ranger Hall are early in the discussion phase but many staff members are optimistic and excited for the completion of this building.
“The second floor will have more facilities and will be valuable for students across all Harrington majors,” said Kevin McClure, chair of communication studies for URI. “It will only make it better.”