Scott Young, News Editor
The Jacksonville State University Department of Music has begun transitioning back into their home Mason Hall, nearly two years after the facility was heavily damaged by an EF-3 tornado.
“We are scheduled to be moving in around March 7,” said Christie Shelton, the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “They are already in phase one of moving as of right now. There are two professors already teaching classes there.”
Mason Hall was previously targeted for reopening by spring 2020, but later in January, the Building and Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees stated that the project was “nearing completion”.
“It will be a phased return to the building, and the first phase begins now,” said Renee Baptiste, the interim head of the Department of Music, in an email to students. “While only a small portion of the building is available at this time, subsequent phases will eventually open the entire building, so that we can complete semester back at home.”
The renovations at Mason Hall include soundproof practice rooms, faculty offices and performance rooms.
Baptiste said that only music faculty and music students are allowed to enter Mason Hall at this time and that they are restricted to the first three hallways on the middle floor of the facility.
“Please remember that this is still a construction site,” said Baptiste. “Be aware of your surroundings.”
Baptiste added that Mason Hall will be open 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on the weekdays, but can be opened by UPD on the weekend. Practice rooms in the South campus will remain open.
“More of the building will hopefully be opening in the coming weeks, with full occupation potentially occurring mid-March,” she explained.
Mason Hall has been under heavy renovations and repairs since March 19, 2018 when it was damaged by an EF-3 tornado. Classes for music students have been dispersed all across campus.
Attempts to reach Baptiste or JSU capital planning for further comments were unsuccessful at the time of publication.