The Curtis Media Center becomes Carolina’s newest building

The innovative learning space is a leading educational technology hub that features a broadcast and podcast studio, a makerspace and state-of-the-art classrooms.

Exterior photo of the Curtis Media Center
The Curtis Media Center is the newest building on Caroina's campus (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

The UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz officially dedicated Carolina’s newest building — the Curtis Media Center — on Thursday evening.

Located adjacent to Carroll Hall at the campus gateway facing Cameron Avenue, the nearly 13,000-square-foot, three-story building features a high-tech broadcast studio, a podcast studio, a makerspace and four state-of-the-art classrooms. The Curtis Media Center will host classes this summer.

“Take a moment and imagine with me what will happen in this space: the true magic of discovery, creativity and the training of the next generation of journalists. It is going to be a special place; and it is an honor to dedicate it today,” Guskiewicz said at the ceremony held in one of the classrooms.

Don Curtis ’63 — an alumnus and a former member of the UNC Board of Trustees — and his family foundation’s visionary gift made the building a reality. The Curtis family’s $10 million gift is the second-largest single gift in the school’s history. The gift funded the building’s construction, while also expanding powerful student learning experiences funded by the Don and Barbara Curtis Excellence Fund for Extracurricular Activities.

Referencing his love for Disney World, Curtis said that Carolina is a place for “dreamers and believers,” just as it was when he was a student here 60 years ago, and that he hopes the Curtis Media Center will help continue that tradition.

“It is my dream that this building will provide a place where dreamers and believers can come and learn for years to come and hopefully prepare for a future that makes for a better North Carolina,” Curtis said.

With innovations and hands-on learning experiences for Tar Heels from the basement to the rooftop, the new facility, UNC Hussman Dean Emerita Susan King said, is a transformative place for everyone.

“This is something that will serve students for dozens and dozens of years, and there will be hundreds and hundreds of students who will be able to come through here now in a totally different way,” King said.

A 3,000-square-foot makerspace on the lower level will provide space for FashionMash, a UNC Hussman program focused on branding for the fashion and lifestyle industry.

The first floor’s broadcast studio will serve as a learning space for the school’s broadcast students. In addition to a 16-by-9-foot high-definition LED screen, green screen and production space, the studio will also have a direct connection to UNC Athletics’ facilities and can serve as a news studio for Carolina faculty members to share their expertise on television broadcasts. A podcast studio on the second floor will provide all the tools that students need to bring their audio projects to life.

Two floors of classrooms will create active-learning experiences for students. Each room is designed with virtual microphones, cameras, high-definition projection screens and display monitors.

The roof has a photovoltaic solar array that will reduce the building’s power need by 25% or more. Sunny off days will return electricity to the University grid. The equipment was funded by the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee, a student-run committee that plans and implements renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on campus.