Jehovah’s Witnesses to build huge media production center

Times Herald-Record, New York/October 8, 2019

By Daniel Axelrod

Ramapo, New York – The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society announced plans to build an enormous audio-visual production center on land partly in Tuxedo but mostly in Ramapo.

Members of the nonprofit group, better known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, plan to use the building to consolidate and expand various multi-media production offices, which they say make materials about living a principled life.

The new 1.5 million-square-foot facility would be almost as big as the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ 1.6-million-square-foot headquarters, located two miles away in the Town of Warwick. As in Warwick, roughly 1,000 volunteers would live and staff the Ramapo media production center.

Besides studio space, the complex would include offices, residences, underground parking, a fitness area and a visitor center for the public.

The 155 Sterling Mine Road property consists of 242 acres in Ramapo and seven acres in the Town of Tuxedo. The project is currently in the environmental review phase following a July application submission to the Town of Ramapo Planning Board.

Robert Zick, a Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman, estimated it could take two years for the group to finish planning the project and up to another four to build the complex.

Zick was not readily able to say why the project had a six-year timeline, but he said the bio-diverse nature of the site might make it complex to develop.

Zick added that it could take significantly less time to develop the property depending on different variables, including how quickly it moves through the environmental review process.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have described the site as bucolic, full of rock outcroppings, lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and wetlands, while pledging to build in a careful, environmentally friendly way.

Zick declined to put a price tag on the complex, which would merge the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ disparate media production offices near the hamlet of Wallkill, and in the Town of Tuxedo and Patterson, among other locations.

He said the Jehovah’s Witnesses have seen a swell of outside interest from the general public in some of the group’s audio-visual advice materials, including videos offering parenting advice.

Among them are partially animated videos, in which a non-animated human hand quickly draws cartoons on a whiteboard, and a voice-over offers guidance, including in clips such as “Beat-up Bullies Without Using Your Fists” and “How Can I Stop Gossip?”

Media materials for a multitude of languages also would be produced at the Ramapo site.

All told, the Jehovah’s Witnesses report 8.4 million members worldwide, including 1.2 million in the U.S.

“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.”

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.