Video and Editing by Jayelyn Jackson
Project by: Will Cobb, Jayelyn Jackson, Kristen Hubby and Jackie Sanchez
The Moody College of Communications construction of the hyped project that bridges the gap between Belo Center for New Media and the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center was completed in early Spring of 2016.
The bridge was designed by Rosales & Partners of Boston and structural engineered by Freese and Nichols of Ft. Worth. The project hovers over Dean Keeton measuring 300 feet wide with slender steel towers that are 65 feet tall.
The Moody College of Communication is located on the north-western corner of campus. The three buildings that make up the college– Belo Center for New Media, Jesse H. Jones Communication Center, and the William Randolph Hearst Student Media Building–are greatly divided by Dean Keeton.
“Comm students often feel disconnected from the rest of the 40 acres because our buildings are so secluded on a far corner of campus,” Maya Garcia of Communication Council said.
After waiting seven years, students and faculty are now able to walk across the bridge to get from one communication building to the next. This was an idea that former dean, Roderick Hart, has always favored.
“The bridge has always been important to me,” Hart said. “My main concern was to kind of pull the College of Communication back together physically and visually.”
Some students however are not as supportive of the bridge as much as some faculty members are.
According the an anonymous survey conducted by four Journalism seniors, 58% out of a total of 57 respondents did not support the construction of the bridge, while just 21% said they did support the construction, with the remaining 22% undecided.
“That money could have been scholarships or something else that led me to the path of employment instead of the path to the other side of the street,” said an anonymous student.
On October 21, 2013 the Moody Foundation of Galveston donated $50 million for future projects to further establish the Moody College of Communications. $3 million from the grant was used to fund the construction of the pedestrian bridge.
“I think the bridge is ridiculous and a waste of money,” said an anonymous student. “The money used to construct the bridge could have been given to talented students who deserve scholarships or given to programs to improve the college.”
With over 52,000 students and 20,000 faculty members at the University of Texas, foot traffic around campus can get crowded. To alleviate the foot traffic between the Dean Keeton and Whitis cross-walk is one of the purposes the bridge serves.
“We identified the need to have a safe, fast way for faculty members, students and staff members to go back and forth between buildings on a regular basis,” Nick Hundley, Communications Director for the Moody College of Communications said in regards to the meaning behind its construction.
According to the survey, 41 students out of 57 said they rarely or never travel on the bridge, and 29% say it is useless.
Along with the criticism, support is slowly gaining way, and some students express their gratitude for the bridge’s construction. After use of the crosswalk since 2012, it could take some getting used to before the bridge gains total popularity.
“I know that students were skeptical of the Moody Bridge when it was announced, myself included, but now that it’s open I love it,” Garcia said. “It is a symbol of our college and the work our professors and students do every day.”
Story by Kristen Hubby
Quotes gathered by Jackie Sanchez