Franklin Hall to hold official grand opening

Brittany Senary

Students filled classrooms in Franklin Hall this fall after more than two years of construction, a $21 million investment and the building of a 20,000-square-foot addition. And now, the building is ready for its official grand opening.

Today’s opening celebrates the transformation of the 82-year-old building into what has become the new facility for students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The opening’s from 1:30 to 3 p.m., and is a part of Kent State’s Centennial Celebration.

Jeff Fruit, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said the celebration has been scheduled for now – months after the building’s actual opening – to ensure the building would be finished. He said everyone is invited to the ceremony.

“The more the merrier in my view,” Fruit said.

The ceremony begins with a video presentation that can be viewed from multiple locations inside the building. After that, guests can explore the building.

The move to Franklin Hall marks the first time print and broadcast programs are housed under the same roof to work together in the converged newsroom.

Bryan Wroten, editor of the Daily Kent Stater, said the Stater, TV2 and Black Squirrel Radio are trying to break in Franklin Hall and turn it into a true newsroom.

“We’ve done a lot of hard work here from figuring out how to cover the day to day with BSR and TV2 to sending people to Northern Illinois to cover the shooting,” Wroten said.

Black Squirrel Radio’s production manager, Ty Kellogg, said the new Black Squirrel Radio space is cleaner and has a better production facility.

“Convergence is a long process, but we are starting to have more converged content,” Kellogg said. “We are taking student media to a new level.”

TV2 news director Kaitlyn Lionti said TV2 has been a lot different this year.

“In the old studio, we had a lot of technical problems on a regular basis,” Lionti said. “Now we have a brand new state of the art facility, and we are lucky to have it.”

Lionti said convergence is good for everyone involved in student media.

“In the future, I see people not being part of one media,” Lionti said. “I see people working for BSR, TV2 and the Stater. The lines are blurring and that’s really good because it gives people more experience.”

Franklin Hall includes six flat screen televisions in the lobby, a $2.5 million digital, high-definition broadcast studio with a virtual set and a converged newsroom that houses the student media organizations.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Brittany Senary at [email protected].