Trustees approve architect for Willard Building renovation

September 15, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Taking the next step to enhance the facilities and programs for Penn State students preparing for careers in digital storytelling and media, the Penn State Board of Trustees approved Studios Architecture of Washington, D.C., as the architect for the Donald P. Bellisario Media Center, which will be constructed in Willard Building on the University Park campus. 

The state-of-the-art media center, made possible as part of the transformational gift by alumnus Donald P. Bellisario to the University in April 2017, will be designed to prepare students across disciplines for careers based on the five majors offered by the Bellisario College of Communications: advertising/public relations; film-video; journalism; media studies; and telecommunications. 

More than 30 architectural firms from across the country offered proposals for design of the media center, which will be housed on the ground and first floors of the historic Willard building, constructed in 1949. Studios Architecture has completed similar projects, such as a studio at Time Inc., headquarters and Mashable’s east coast headquarters, both in New York City.  

Concurrently, teams of faculty and staff from the Bellisario College of Communications visited facilities across the country this summer to benchmark with other institutions of higher education as well as media outlets to discover ideas to shape the design process.   

While official dedication of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications will take place Oct. 20 on the University Park campus, the design phase of this media center project will begin immediately. 

“I’ve seen some early renderings, and the possibilities are transformative,” said Dean Marie Hardin of the Bellisario College. “It’ll be open, collaborative, modern and technology-driven -- the kind of facility that encourages the entrepreneurial mindset that will shape the future of the media industries.”  

After the design phase, construction is planned to begin in December 2018, with the media center completed by the summer of 2020 and ready for students and faculty to begin working during the 2020-21 academic year.


Last Updated September 15, 2017