[Photo Story] Check Out Penn State’s New Bellisario Media Center

In just a few months, Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications will welcome students into its new Bellisario Media Center — a $48 million expansion and renovation to the Willard Building that will house creative spaces for nearly every media organization on campus.

Although the center’s missing some finishing touches, it’s expected to be completed and “ready to go” in time for the fall 2021 semester.

To get a taste of what the Bellisario Media Center will offer, Onward State took a tour Thursday alongside Dean Marie Hardin. Here’s a sneak peek into Willard’s newest digs.

Immediately after walking in, you’ll be greeted by a huge set of stairs akin to those found in the HUB. There, students can hang out and even get some work done. Each seat is just feet or even inches away from handy electrical outlets.

The building’s ground floor is littered with offices and workrooms for student organizations, including CommAgency and CommRadio. Each room is fitted with sleek new furniture that brings a modern flair to one of Penn State’s oldest buildings.

Of course, the media center is complete with recording studios for students, too. Groups like Centre County Report and 46Live will have permanent homes in Willard that will let them work on campus without needing to shuttle over to Innovation Park.

Some classes will be held in the Bellisario Media Center as well. New research labs and studios aim to give students hands-on experiences right in the heart of campus.

And with a handy new light fixture, you’ll always know when someone’s on the air.

Upstairs, you’ll find a full-fledged newsroom fit for any media organization that could be reserved for students. Some groups (not Onward State!) and even faculty members have personal offices up there, too.

The Bellisario Media Center felt especially modern thanks to new furniture. Couches like these bad boys will come fully stocked with electrical outlets so you’ll never need to get up to charge your laptops.

Although we were unable to check out the basement level, it should feature similar amenities for students, including a new “Innovation Lab” made possible by an alum’s recent endowment. Crews were hard at work Thursday putting touches on bottom floor.

One particularly neat feature for the media center is its equipment rental programs. Students will soon be able to check out gear for their projects with ease and return them to the ground floor without needing to haul them upstairs or across town.

The Bellisario Media Center’s construction was inevitably delayed last year due to the pandemic. It was originally set to be finished in May 2020 and soon pushed back to January 2021. Now, it’s eyeing a proper opening next fall.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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