Committee approves final plans to create Bellisario Media Center

September 12, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning on Sept. 12 recommended the final plan approval and expenditure of funds for completion of the Donald P. Bellisario Media Center on the University Park campus. The project will be presented to the full board for a vote on Friday, Sept. 13. 

Construction on the project that will transform the oldest part of Willard Building, built in 1949, into the Bellisario Media Center started in December 2018. The project will impact all four floors in the building, and the completed facility, comprising more than 60,000 square feet, will be a hub for student media at the University. 

Together with Carnegie Building, the media center will be the home of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. The facility will benefit students — working in agency and corporate environments, film, journalism, television and more — in every major of the Bellisario College for years to come.

Media center entry way

The Bellisario Media Center in the Willard Building, slated to open during the 2020-21 academic year, will feature an open design to encourage collaboration and creativity.

IMAGE: Penn State

“The Bellisario Media Center will inspire students to perform at their very best while at Penn State, and it will prepare them to thrive within the kinds of media environments they will enter as professionals,” Dean Marie Hardin said. “The center will be, hands down, the most exciting place on campus for Penn State communications students and faculty. It will be a vital resource as we prepare the next generation of great digital storytellers.”

An open design to encourage collaboration and creativity highlights floor plans for the facility. The media center will begin hosting classes as well as Bellisario College and student media operations during the 2020-21 academic year.

The cutting-edge facility will house state-of-the-art television studios, radio broadcast studios, the Bellisario College’s growing digital media agency, student-media operations, space for film and video creation, small-group collaboration spaces, and faculty offices. A studio suite for the University’s Office of Strategic Communications will also be created. 

Virtual tour of Bellisario Media Center

Virtual tour of Bellisario Media Center (Willard Building), created by Studios Architecture. Fly-through video of completed Bellisario Media Center, which will be housed in Willard Building on the University Park Campus and is on schedule for completion in time for the 2020-21 academic year.

Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications

This project will allow the consolidation of Bellisario College spaces, including the Media Effects Research Laboratory, currently located at several locations on campus. Editorial operations of The Daily Collegian will be relocated to the media center, as will some faculty offices and work stations for the College of the Liberal Arts.

Site work includes an improved entrance on Pollock Road with accessibility enhancements. Aging building utility systems will be replaced as well. Board of Trustee support for the completion of the projects totals $48 million.

The media center is part of the transformative gift to Penn State by Distinguished Alumnus Donald P. Bellisario and his wife, Vivienne, in 2017. Their gift provided significant faculty and programming support and nearly doubled the amount of scholarship support available for Penn State communications students.

The Board of Trustees approved Studios Architecture of Washington, D.C., as architect for the project in September 2017.


Last Updated September 19, 2019