Revamping communications: new academic building to replace communication facility

By Tiffanie Reynolds |

The corner of Cordova and Cuna will be getting a new look, but it will not only be for communication students.

Plans to demolish 31 Cordova, the current communications building, which is beside The Floridian restaurant, are already in motion, with a new two-story academic building replacing it. Still in the conceptual stages of planning, the vision for the academic building includes 12 classrooms, several faculty offices, a studio Mac lab and a screening room that will seat 108. The cost is estimated to be $5.5 million.

First floor plan of 66 Cuna

First floor plan of 66 Cuna


The current plans actually detail four interconnected buildings in a Spanish Colonial style with stairs or roof access by elevator to get to the second floor, and the screening room in the middle. Larry Weeks, director of business services, will be meeting with the St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board at the end of February or March to change the zoning of the land from commercial to a planned unit development (PUD). It is the first step in a process he hopes will be finished by fall 2013.

“By going to the city and getting it changed to a planned unit development where they specify the outline, we can cover 75 percent of the lot and then go up. What it does is allow us to build a larger building,” said Weeks.

Although, nothing else can be done until everything is moved out of the current communication building. The faculty will be the first to go, with renovation of new offices across the street in an existing building, 66 Cuna, scheduled to be complete by the end of the semester. Dr. Tracy Halcomb, head of the communication department and in charge of picking furniture for the new building, is looking forward to the move.

“It was located so close. You weren’t extending the campus too much for students and we’re in desperate need for office space,” Halcomb said.

Second floor plan of 66 Cuna

Second floor plan of 66 Cuna


The first floor of the building will hold a conference room, an editing suite, waiting room and faculty offices. An audio lab to teach radio, two speaking centers, and more faculty offices make up the space on the second floor. Faculty can move in either mid-April or after summer classes end. The renovations to 66 Cuna are expected to cost $800,000, including furniture.

Weeks said the college plans to purchase 65 Cuna Street, behind the current communications building, to house the radio station with an addition to hold the television studio. According to Project Manager Harvey DeVane the building should be approved by the end of February. They hope that renovation will begin by the end of summer 2012, and both the radio station and television studio can move in by the fall.

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