This summer, the basement floor and exterior of the George S. Romney Building will be completely redone to optimize teaching for the physics department and the photography studio.
“Right now they are anticipating it to be complete by the winter semester of 2024,” said Neihlee Muir, the construction projects manager.
Recently, there have been a lot of exterior challenges with the Romney building and there have been many requests for changes to be made to the interior and exterior of the building.
“This summer, the plan is all this brown material on the outside will get re-coated so it should end up being more of a silver or gray by the time we are done,” said Sam Merrick, the facilities maintenance and operations director.
The bricks will also be given new life as they are refurbished and resealed for protection and longevity. Inside the building, the entire basement floor will be gutted and changed per the request for updates to be made to the photography lab.
“This whole floor down here is going to change,” Merrick said.
Currently, the photography studio, room 52, is used as a dark room for the processing of film. The photography department still produces film as part of the curriculum but not at the scale that it used to, as digital photography is now more common.
“There is a lot of wasted space in this area that we could update so they could better utilize the space,” Muir said. “So we are going to completely gut this entire area and we are going to make this a bigger lab area for the digital photography classes.”
The office, lab and classroom spaces currently in the Romney building will be taken away and will be replaced by two different spaces. One will be a multi-purpose classroom with new tables and chairs for any department in the Romney building. The other will be a classroom designed specifically for teaching photography.
“We are giving another lab space for physics,” Muir said. “So, physics is going to move down to the basement as well. So it will be a shared space.”
The shared space between physics and photography will be designed in such a way to optimize teaching.
New hallways will be added as new classrooms are put in place. Nothing will remain the same during this remodel. Existing classrooms, offices, hallways and lockers will all be gone this summer.
The Romney Building is one of four BYU-Idaho buildings erected in 1963. These are the oldest buildings on campus.