Sitting at 123 S. Burrowes St., the James Building is many things.
It’s the site of numerous administrative offices for the Bellisario College of Communications, as well as the college’s Media Effects Research Labs. It’s also the home of The Daily Collegian — for 30 years running.
It’s the coordinates engraved on a staff member's ring. It’s the newsroom. It’s the rows of desks signed by alumni in various shades of permanent markers and white paint. It’s the packed shelf of 30-plus EIC-popped champagne bottles. It’s the place countless students spent more time than anywhere else on campus.
But — it’s also nearly 100 years old.
Penn State plans to demolish the James Building’s 29,910 square feet — anticipating the construction of a new building to begin in November 2019 with intended completion in December 2020, according to a request for letters of interest from design and engineering firms, with development plans requiring approval from State College Borough Council.
Student staffers having already noticed the dots of missing tiles in the past and our fair share of leaks, the existing building and infrastructure are “at the end of their useful life,” according to a university architect.
The university looks to replace James with a new, $52.8 million building that will serve as a hub for the Invent Penn State entrepreneurial and innovation initiative. So, a different hub “that functions as a center for innovation and knowledge sharing,” to take more words from the letter.
Thoughts of such a move by the university have circled the newsroom for some time now. And though it has been “gutting” for many alumni and current staff, hearing it in the concrete, it is an unfortunate reality. It’s part of life and part of time’s relentless push forward.
The important thing to remember is that wherever our team lands in the near future, our dedication and persistence in providing Penn State and local news will never change. We will continue to report the news for the students and community of Penn State, while fostering the young minds of aspiring journalists, designers, businessmen and women, and so much more.
Though Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers’ comment of “It is in the early stages and there are no definitive relocation plans for current occupants. All of these details are under consideration,” probably isn’t the most reassuring — know that we are reviewing our options, as we have been for some time.
Such a decision will only follow careful consideration, and we’ll be able to share more as that progresses.
Now 131 years old itself, the Collegian moved into the James Building from the Carnegie Building on campus in 1988, and even amid the constant shifting in the journalism field, our outlet has always continued to produce the best work possible.
This news comes with many heavy hearts and many old memories. And although I will not be able to visit my tiny office after I graduate, with newsroom photos from the ‘80s, old issues tacked to the wall and a computer to match — the Collegian will continue innovating and pushing forward.
One more move isn’t going to change anything.