The difference a year makes

The Center for Virtual Learning is scheduled to open Summer 2023

This marks the last semester that the construction site near FLITE will remain mysterious and inaccessible, as the Center For Virtual learning is scheduled to open in the fall of 2023.

While the finer details are still being decided, this three-story building will be filled with editing labs, podcast rooms, a cutting-edge esports arena, classrooms and faculty offices. 

The CVL will be home to a number of programs and their majors, including the School of Digital Media, the School of Education and Information and Ferris’ new minor for esports broadcasting. This is the first upgrade that the 50-year-old television and digital media production program has seen since the creation of the Interdisciplinary Resource Center in the last century. This offers a new opportunity for Ferris to renovate the space with technology fit for the digital age and its future scholars.

One such space is the esports arena. Placed near the CVL’s entrance, this space is intended to facilitate the live production needs of a number of majors and registered student organizations. It will be outfitted with the 2022 award-winning Panasonic Kairos switcher. A switcher is a piece of hardware that accepts all video and audio sources of a production and outputs them into one source where it is recorded or broadcasted. It is the link that makes any televised production, from the Super Bowl to a college graduation ceremony, actually visible on your screen.

Bill Jung, a television engineer at Ferris and a committee member for the interior furnishing of the CVL, gave the Torch some insight into this technology.

The CVL shows months’ worth of progress with glass windows and gray panels. Photo by: Ember St. Amour | News Reporter

“It does things that most typical TV production switchers never even thought of doing, and it can do them very well,” Jung said. “One of the big benefits is we can remotely control cameras across campus and even the nation… We can have students around the world remoting into a production switcher and producing content.”

This cutting-edge hardware will allow students to participate in competitive esports from various locations. The arena, in conjunction with the three podcast studios, the four editing labs and the computers for these spaces, will allow students to produce video and audio content and broadcast it at a professional level in a professional environment.

Glenn Okonoski, the director of the TDMP program and a representative of the School of Digital Media for the building,  speaks to the excitement and potential of this building and how it will be a place where students, faculty, instruction and events will all share the same place.

“I keep coming back to the connections that can be made between faculty and students and those in different majors,” Okonoski said. “Bishop Hall is at the end of its life cycle — it’s lonely and dusty. I’m excited to move to the center of campus where there will be more activity.”

The students share this excitement, although it seems that even those within the majors moving in are unfamiliar with just what this building will offer. Digital animation and game design junior Marlow Losey has only heard what other students have said, which isn’t much. Although they are excited to have a new building tailored to their major’s needs, being at the center of campus also fills them with a sense of pride for their program, now that it will have a central place within Ferris’ ecosystem.

Coming this fall, the CVL will be filled with the students and faculty members that are usually confined to the outskirts of campus. It will bring them right to the center of campus with fancy new tech, new programs and excitement for the future.