Southern Utah State College's campus newspaper, The Thunderbird, has new offices this year that are proving to be a boon to its operation, despite a somewhat unusual location.
The paper had been operating in the bottom floor of the Library Building until the campus computer center was moved into that space.Newspaper adviser Larry Baker said the new office, in the basement of the Industrial Education Building, includes four entities: The Thunderbird; the campus publications operations, which covers everything from theater programs to sports guides; photo services; and typesetting for the instructional media center.
Initially, the new location offered plenty of room, but it was a dingy, dark, concrete basement that also served as a warehouse. Spoofing the "Hard Rock Cafe" name, students quickly labeled their new location the "Rock Hard Cave." But the "cave" underwent a major face lift in late summer.
Construction Supervisor Nolan Truman, construction technicians Brent Johnson and Gregg Turn-beaugh and electrician Matt Vanden-berghe, together with help from students, converted the basement area into a 2,800-square-foot news and publications center that would be the envy of many weekly or small daily newspapers.
"There were no real labor costs," said Baker, who designed the office layout, "just materials."
Still smelling of fresh paint, the new publications center has offices for Baker and the editors and advertising staff of The Thunderbird, designated work stations with eight computer terminals for its staff members, paste-up and production rooms and a greatly expanded photo services office with a large studio and enlarged darkroom.
The extra room is proving important. This year, the operation includes two full-time employees and one half-time employee in addition to Baker. The number of students using the office has grown, too. Publishing twice weekly, The Thunderbird staff has grown to more than 30 students, including six editors, 18 reporters, three photographers, a three-member production staff and two advertising representatives.
The only drawback to the new location was in letting the rest of the campus know where it was, though students dealt with the situation by mounting a humorous ad campaign in The Thunderbird, playing on the "Rock Hard Cave" name, which culminated in a recent open house.