PULLMAN, Wash. — Faculty and staff of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University will begin the new semester in a new, high tech building.

Larry Harris, project manager of the addition, says apart from some minor adjustments and a few pieces of back-ordered furniture, the project is complete. According to the University’s Capital Planning and Development office, that makes the $12.4 million addition on time and on budget.

Some faculty and staff members began moving personal items in to offices before the December holiday break. This month, for the first time, classes will be held in the new red brick and glass building. The addition, constructed east of the existing communication buildings and south of Thompson Hall on Veterans Way, boasts numerous state-of-the-art features but of vital importance to a world-class communication facility is wiring. The wires, which will support technology for computers and digital equipment in 25,000 square feet of finished space, are carried along tracks at ceiling height to allow access for maintenance and upgrades. Each outlet in the building has three dedicated CAT 5E wires. “The wiring is state of the art and should last for years,” said Bob Eggart, construction engineer in the WSU Capital Planning and Development office.

Eggart led a tour of the School of Communicaton Addition in mid December for staff and faculty. “Every aspect in this building is high tech,” Eggart told the group, “and many features of the building were included with ecology in mind.” As an example, Eggart pointed out the “solar band 60” rated glass which he says is about as high a rating as you can get and keeps the heat inside in the winter and the heat outside in the summer. The benefit to the university, he says, is savings on heating and cooling. In addition, there are infrared sensors that detect whether rooms are being used. The sensors, which are connected to the heating and cooling system, cut off heating and cooling to unoccupied rooms.

The three stories of the new addition include office space for 18 faculty and staff members, the School of Communication office, computer labs, research rooms with special one-way observation windows, a TV studio, director’s booth, four edit suites and a 175-seat auditorium. The auditorium was constructed with sliding doors that can be opened to allow students in the auditorium to observe what’s happening in the studio.

“We are working closely with companies which produce the best digital equipment in the world,” said Alex Tan, director of the Murrow School. “We anticipate this building will be fully equipped and operational in a matter of months.” Funding for digital equipment necessary to complete the facility was not included in the state budget for construction of the building.

Many faculty members will continue to occupy their current offices in the two older communication buildings. Space vacated in the older buildings will soon house 30 communication teaching assistants currently using office space in other buildings.

Named for Edward R. Murrow, an alumnus of the university and broadcasting’s most revered journalist, the communication school offers the only comprehensive broadcast program in the state of Washington as well as sequences in all six communication fields: advertising, broadcasting, communication, communication studies, journalism and public relations. The school is also one of only a few programs in the nation that airs a daily, student-produced television newscast. The communication building is one of three buildings on the WSU campus devoted to the school.

Each year, The Edward R. Murrow School of Communication hosts a symposium that attracts journalists whose careers exemplify the commitment and dedication of Murrow. This year, Peter Jennings, anchor and senior editor of ABC NEWS’ “World News Tonight,” will be on campus April 14 to accept the 2004 Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting.

College of Liberal Arts faculty and staff watch as the walls of the 175-seat lecture hall are moved to reveal the new television studio. This arrangement will allow students to watch television production.