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26 July 2012

Work Starts on JMSC’s New Digital Media Lab

Remodeling work has begun on the JMSC’s Digital Media Lab in Eliot Hall.

The work is the first phase in a three-year-long project to turn the historic building into a multi-media and high-tech learning space compatible with the technology-driven transformation of modern-day journalism – and to create a permanent home for the JMSC.

“The remodel isn’t so much a simple renovation as a re-imagination of how we are teaching media and journalism,” said Kevin Lau, JMSC tutor and online media producer, who was involved in plans for the lab’s technical renovation.  “The last time the lab was revamped, the iPad and Android tablets didn’t exist yet and the iPhone was just beginning to start the current smartphone generation.”

Roast pig cutting ceremony outside Eliot Hall

In time-honoured tradition, the start of the work was marked with a roast pig cutting ceremony on Wednesday, 18 July.

Lau said the ultimate aim is a mobile and flexible space that is fit for group work. “Another aspect of the lab that we plan on implementing is the interoperability across platforms and computers,” he said. “Our goal for the new lab is to provide a platform for students to engage in more efficient and more enjoyable group assignment workflow. This will lead to higher quality and more efficient audio, video, television and web production.”

Ronald Tam, who is involved in a number of conservation projects in Hong Kong, is managing the project in collaboration with the university’s architects.  Part of the challenge is to create a high-tech facility within the confines of a historic brick building that is the second oldest on campus.

“The aim is to adapt Eliot Hall to the current use by the JMSC and latest fit-out standards while making use of the inherent quality of the space and character of the old building,” said Tam.

“The old type of interior space with very high ceilings and windows – these features are seldom found in new school buildings designed for the purpose of workshops and offices.”

The improved facilities will also include studios, post-production rooms and a student lounge.