The Shield Online

Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

Once the original journalism room and a dark room, former radio lab to become new SRO office

Charlie Holden, Co-Editor In-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The view out of the radio lab window after the room was emptied by the SROs is a bleak one. Photo and photo illustration by Joseph Cardenas.

There’s a door in the main hall, just across from the cafeteria and a few steps from the main office that always stays closed. On the door is a small, brass plaque that reads in flowing script,

“The Shield.” Behind this door is a room that has served many purposes—most recently, it was the MAC radio lab—but that purpose is about to change once again as it is refitted to be the new headquarters of the school resource officers, or SROs.

Room 134 is the photojournalism, newspaper and yearbook classroom. When you walk in the door, it looks like any other computer lab, but when you walk to the back, you will see a door leading into a crowded, rat-infested storage room. The radio lab and this storage room used to be a single classroom that originally was the journalism room. But that was long before Rhonda Moore, the journalism teacher and publications adviser from 2000 to 2015, came to McCallum.
Then the room was transformed again.

“It was a wet darkroom,” Moore said. “In the photojournalism class, I taught [students] how to develop and print pictures. Even when we made the switch to digital, I still used the room to teach my kids how to develop film.”

It was a dark room until AV teacher Ken Rogers decided he needed a space for his brand new radio club in the winter of 2011. Interest in dark room photography was dwindling due to modernization and increased reliance on digital cameras in the field of journalism, so Moore agreed to divide the space. Room 134 continued to be the main journalism classroom while the old classroom-converted-darkroom was split into a radio lab and a storage room. The wall went up and the window that now looks into the hub of the main hall was installed just before winter break in 2011.

The radio began its broadcasts by the following spring, and there was a radio class by the 2014-15 school year.

“We had a lot of kids involved in the program in 2015,” former radio sponsor and AV teacher Ken Rogers said. “At that point, we even had MTV interested in doing a show on it.”

The radio club’s prosperity lasted through 2015-16 school year, when the radio class was disbanded due to lack of interest. Now, only two years later, the club is ending as well. The SROs have already begun to move into the space. The radio equipment that has been removed will return to its former home in the 110 Lab, where freshman AV classes will use it to record podcasts.

“While the radio is ending, I believe there still is a future class that could be centered around podcasting since we still have a recording studio in the film room,” senior and former radio club member Taylor Renfro said. “There is a future of the radio coming back, but I’m sad it’s ending for now.”

While the radio is ending, I believe there still is a future class that could be centered around podcasting.”

— Taylor Renfro

The radio is ending, but the former radio lab’s new life is just beginning and the first step is renovations to the space.

“We took down all the sound pads,” school resource officer Mike Reilly said. “We took out some desks, [and] we’re going to have to mirror the glass, because obviously there’s going to be some privacy issues if we don’t. We’re going to put mirrors in, put blinds in, [and] we have to swap the door because it’s a safety issue.”

Currently the door opens outwards, which is a safety hazard because an item could be jammed under the door, trapping whoever is inside. The hinges will be changed out to fix this problem. Although the SROs are going to have to put in the work to make the old radio lab a functioning headquarters, it will be a step up from their current accommodations in the main office.
“We’ve been looking for somewhere bigger for a while because [right now] we’re in a closet,” Reilly said. “[Being in the radio lab will] help with visibility. Here, we’re kind of confined, we don’t know what’s going on. [The radio lab is] a little more centrally located and it’ll separate us from the administration a little bit.”

Reilly said that having the SRO office centrally located in the school will make the relationship between officers and students much more transparent.

“We don’t always work hand in hand with them,” Reilly said. “There’s always a criminal investigation, and there’s the administrative side. They’re very different, they sometimes don’t agree. We’re [also] looking to get out [of the main office] and [solve] some of the issues we have in here with people yelling at us and take it out of the main office where kids like to eavesdrop and try and figure out what’s going on.”

It’s been known as a classroom, a darkroom, a radio lab, a storage closet, and now, the center of safety operations at MAC. With all of the recent change, however, the door of the former darkroom will still stay, now taking on a new meaning.

“We’re keeping the little Shield logo on there because it’s kind of fitting, you know?” Reilly said. “[Because] a lot of people consider police officers to be the ‘shield’ between the bad guys and the good guys.”

Additional reporting by Gregory James.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters”

  1. Graydon on April 30th, 2018 1:40 pm

    I knew nothing why we stopped using the radio room or got rid of it. This story provided all of the details I needed to understand those reasons. Great read!

    [Reply]

  2. Townes Jones on April 30th, 2018 2:26 pm

    I like that the space is not being wasted, but it would be cool if it eventually turned back to something like a radio or podcast room/club.

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    Austinites gather to mourn lives lost in recent Texas school shooting

  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    Bringing a dark topic to light

  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    The Ayes of Texas are upon us

  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    Teachers fight for their right to fair pay

  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    Students storm Capitol to ask for safer schools

  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    Shield captures first ever Online Pacemaker Award

  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    Macjournalism wins 123 Best of Texas awards

  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    Meeting picks up where march left off

  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    Shield awarded Blue and Gold honors

  • Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters

    News

    Images from the March for Our Lives

The Student News Site of McCallum High School
Radio silenced as SROs move into new headquarters