Friday morning construction begins on a Belo Center for New Media on the University of Texas at Austin campus.
The center will be a five story, 120,000 square foot LEED certified building with state of the art classrooms, production labs and a multi-media digital newsroom.The west end of the building will also house KUT, Austin’s public radio station.
It will be located at the corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe streets across the street from the current College of Communications building.
Once the building is complete, journalism and advertising students will move into the Belo Center for New Media, while the Communications Studies, Communications Sciences and disorders and Radio, TV, Film, students will continue to study in the current College of Communications building. The University hopes to raise money to eventually remodel that building.
The Belo Foundation (Belo is the parent company of KVUE TV), as well as Robert and Maureen Decherd, the estate of James Moroney Jr. and Jim and Lynn Moroney Family Foundation all pledged $15 million dollars to establish the center.
The project is expected to cost $50 million.
"Great journalism benefits our communities as well as our profession,” said Robert Decherd, chairman of the Belo Foundation of Dallas and chairman of the board, president and CEO of the A.H. Belo Corp.
He said having the Belo name attached to a project like this is important because of Belo’s commitment to journalism excellence. It also signals the company’s dedication to new media which is already shaping information we all receive.
“That's what this center is really about,” he said. “It's a place to bring together the best minds, great students, faculty and think seriously about these matters."
The Belo Center for New Media honors the third generation of Belo Corp. leaders — Joe M. Dealey (BA '41), H. Ben Decherd (BA '36) and James M. Moroney, Jr. (BBA '43) — whose grandfather, G. B. Dealey, established The Dallas Morning News on behalf of A.H. Belo in 1885.
The current College of Communication opened in 1974 to serve 1,000 students but now trains more than 4,200.
Several notable journalists have studied at UT including Walter Cronkite, Gail Caldwell, Ben Sargent and Deborah Howell.
“It is my hope that out of this building will come world famous journalists, publicists and directors,” said Melania Melikian a UT Student and president of the Communications Council.
According to U.T., additional contributions were made by alumni and friends of the college, including John (BJ '59) and Jane Barnhill, Kay Hopper, Karen Elliott House (BJ '70), Deborah Howell (BJ '62), Jeff (BJ '84) and Anne Hunt, Marsha (BS '91) and Robert (BBA '87) Jones, Ardon (BBA '81) and Iris (BS '82) Moore, Donald (BBA '76, JD '79) and Gina (BBA '76) Reese, Neill Walsdorf Jr. (BS '82) and Michael Wilson (BJ '75), and Michelle Garland.
A camera will capture the ongoing construction. You can watch the work here.