Tearing Down 704 Fairfax Street

704 Fairfax Apt. stairs

Professors reveal desires for new building; they merge with memories and seek out potential

By Miles Bates

The School of Communication Fairfax Village apartments are going to be torn down, leaving behind memories in their wake. But, before they go, Dr. Scott Dunn and Leigh Anne Kelley shared some of these memories, and hopes for the new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences building.

Dunn has been teaching at Radford University for seven years, beginning in 2009. He has fond memories of the way the kitchen was used by Dr. Joe Flickinger.

“About once a semester, almost every semester, he [Flickinger] likes to make homemade pizzas. So, he would come up to one of the kitchens and make pizzas for everybody with all kinds of fun and different toppings for everybody,” Dunn said.   

In fact, the kitchen space in the apartments was one shining light in apartments that Dunn said lacked “… a whole lot of good …”

“That was one thing that was nice, you had kitchens there and some seating areas where, we didn’t always take the initiative to do it, but if we wanted to, we could all get together and hangout,” Dunn said.

The kitchen also allowed for different instructors to see one another outside of faculty meetings. A place where socialization between faculty happened.

There were benefits to having professor offices so close to one another, but Dunn often didn’t know who was actually in the apartments at times.

Despite being so close to one another, he felt the set-up of professors being in different apartments resulted in rare sighting of his peers. Even instructors with the same teaching schedule as Dunn made rare appearances.

But, this wasn’t the only kind of distance Dunn saw.  

“We’ve never really had our own classroom space other than the computer labs in Porterfield and the studio in those facilities there,” Dunn said.

He said the new building will include both office and classroom space. Even if it is many -- instead of all -- of the School of Communication classrooms in the new building, people will still be brought together.

“It will create more of a sense of community. I think students will know where to find their professors more,” Dunn said.

“One of the drawbacks of the apartments is that I really don’t think they’re very welcoming for students,” Dunn said.

He explained that when a student enters the apartments for the first time to see a professor, it can be awkward. Dunn could sense a feeling of discomfort from these students during those moments.

“I’ve had a lot of students come in and knock on the door, because they feel really uncomfortable, essentially feeling like they’re opening someone’s apartment door and just barging in,” Dunn said.

Another reason why he imagines the shift to the new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences building will be worthwhile is for “accessibility” to handicapped students. A win over apartments he said weren’t welcoming for those students.

“… hopefully, eventually, it will foster some more collaborative projects and just more interesting discussions …,” Dunn said.

Dunn also looks forward to the possibility of greater interactive opportunities. A limited amount of communication also extends to other departments at Radford University. He likes the faculty, but again, doesn’t see them often.

Kelley feels isolated in the apartments as well.  “We were together in a building, but we felt separate,” Kelley said.

She has taught at Radford University for 10 years. When she first arrived, Media Studies was located in Porterfield Hall. This meant that her office was close to the classrooms where Kelley taught, closeness that she liked.

She is excited about moving into the new space, however.

Kelley thinks the move to the new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences has additional potential as well. In fact, she said it is a chance to “showcase” the school of communication, and Radford University as a whole.

Before it is revealed, Kelley said they first have to move in to see where potential might stand. 

Apr 27, 2016
School of Communication