he Jehovah’s Witnesses announced plans to build a 1.5 million-square-foot audio-visual production center in Upstate New York, two miles away from the Witnesses’ headquarters in Warwick. The organization plans to create more videos with parenting device, despite a recent bombshell investigation alleging wide-scale child abuse and coverups.
Robert Zick, a Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman, told The Times Herald-Record that the media center is a response to the general public’s growing increase of interest in the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ videos, specifically ones offering parenting advice and how to live a principled life. New content is planned to be available in multiple languages.
The organization’s outreach is now supplementing its traditional door-to-door approach by putting more money and manpower behind producing online content in response to the rise and reach of social media platforms.
“We’re ramping up production in response to heavy demand” of audio-visual offerings, Zick said. “People find these materials to be useful, so we’re putting more resources behind them, and we’re putting everything under one roof.”
It won’t just be audio and visual equipment under that roof—the Witnesses are also designing the new media center to be livable. It will have residences, a fitness center and underground parking.
Currently approximately 1,000 volunteers live and work in the 1.6-million-square-foot headquarters. An additional 1,000 volunteers are expected to take up residency in the new center once it is finished.
It might take up to five years for the complex to be completed. At the organization’s annual meeting on October 5, it was announced that construction will begin in 2022 and finish at the end of 2026.
However, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ announcement of the new media center comes a few months after multiple reports revealed serious allegations of child abuse against the group.
The Hearst Television National Investigative Unit spent the last year looking into decades long child sexual abuse and cover-ups within the U.S. Jehovah’s Witnesses chapters. The report came out this August in a three part series of news reports combining the investigation with interviews with 13 victims.