Tcom makes room for iCommunications

Work is currently underway in the Ball Communications building to convert 6,500 square feet of space into digital labs, classrooms and office space for iCommunication, Ball State's digital education initiative.

Oberle and Associates, a construction firm based in Richmond, began work on the facility at the end of May.

The facility, located throughout the building, will house the Center for Media Design and the Digital Media Lab, two central components of the iCommunications program.

"The whole idea of the iComm program is to develop programs for many departments in the university. This space is to develop those programs," said Greg Graham, assistant director of Facilities Planning.

The new space was designed by MSKTD, the same architecture firm that designed the Ball building in the 80s. The renovation will cost $1.8 million, which will come from the $20 million grant Lilly Endowment Inc. gave Ball State to develop iCommunication.

Graham said the facility will also include a "think tank" area and offices for faculty, a high-end graphics lab, a conference seminar room and the home of the Global Media Network, which will allow people around the world the have conferences and share visual information.

"Not all of it will be available [by fall]," Graham said. "The areas where CICS [Center for Information and Communications Services] will be located are scheduled to be ready. The media center labs will not be ready."

Jackie Buckrop, associate dean of the College of Communication, Information and Media, and the acting director of the Center for Media Design, said that some iCommunications courses will be available in the fall.

Those classes, though, may not take place in the new space.

"It depends on the individual class," she said. "Intro. level courses will probably be held in larger academic buildings."

Buckrop said that any student in any department who has a project that is affiliated with iCommunications will be able to use the labs.

The goal of the iCommunications program is to enhance students skills in digital technology, whatever their area of interest may be.

"Students are still going to have their academic majors," Buckrop said.