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$54.8 Million Belo Center for New Media Opens

Texas Business reports:  AUSTIN—The University of Texas at Austin College of Communication will begin hosting classes Wednesday in the Belo Center for New Media, its new five-story, 120,000-square-foot facility.

Located at the northeast corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe streets, the $54.8 million Belo Center provides interactive classrooms and meeting space for more than 4,200 students in the college and houses the adjacent KUT Public Media Studios. The Belo Center includes lecture halls, auditoriums, student offices and meeting rooms, as well as spaces for film screenings and conferences for all college departments.

“The Belo Center solidifies the leading role The University of Texas at Austin plays in journalism education nationally and beyond the United States,” said Robert W. Decherd, chairman of The Belo Foundation of Dallas and chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of A. H. Belo Corporation, in a prepared statement. “The Belo Foundation and the private donors associated with Belo Corp. and A. H. Belo Corporation share the university’s pride in this investment toward understanding how classic journalistic principles will flourish in a digital media world.”

The Belo Center has expanded student advising and career services areas, a dedicated advertising classroom and a multimedia newsroom that will be the editorial headquarters for the school's student-produced news website, Reporting Texas. It houses the offices of college administration, the School of Journalism and the Department of Advertising and Public Relations.

“New media are transforming our communication landscape,” said Roderick P. Hart, dean of the College of Communication, in a statement. “The Belo Center will let students collaborate with faculty, practicing professionals and each other through state-of-the art facilities and interactive spaces. Our hope is to combine traditional education in storytelling with new media learning experiences, and this building will help us do just that.”

The Belo Center contains numerous design and sustainability features, and the college is applying to receive "silver certification" from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

It uses recycled and regional building materials, motion-sensitive lighting and translucent glass office walls that filter sunlight. Its landscaping is irrigated from a rainwater collection system and from condensation collected from the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

The Belo Center was funded by The Belo Foundation, Robert W. Decherd and Maureen H. Decherd (B.A. '73), the estate of James M. Moroney Jr. (B.B.A. '43) and the Jim and Lynn Moroney Family Foundation. It honors the third generation of Belo Corp. leaders – Joe M. Dealey (B.A. '41), H. Ben Decherd (B.A. '36) and James M. Moroney Jr. (B.B.A. '43) – whose grandfather G. B. Dealey established The Dallas Morning News on behalf of A. H. Belo in 1885.

The Belo Center is named in recognition of the seminal role A. H. Belo played in the early days of Texas journalism.

The dedication of the Belo Center will take place Nov. 1, with tours of the building given between 3 and 4:30 p.m. The main ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. and will feature speakers from the university and The Belo Foundation. Afterward, there will be a reception for students, faculty members, alumni and guests.

The Belo Center was designed by Lawrence Group Architects, and GSC Architects provided construction documents and administration. Flintco LLC served as the construction manager, and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects designed the exterior spaces and landscaping.