JPCatholic's Creative Arts Complex to Transform Escondido Campus

Renovations have begun on a 30k square foot building that will more than double the University's academic space

March 6, 2024

JPCatholic is pleased to announce that renovations have begun for our new Creative Arts Academic Complex at 131 S Broadway, adjacent to our current academic building. Previously the home of Johnson Furniture and Sears Roebuck, the structurally sound 30,620 sq. ft. building sits on 1.3-acres. JPCatholic purchased the property in 2016 using a generous $1.5M gift from the Caster Family Trust and debt financing.

The structure will be divided into two separate buildings: Cinematic Arts and Visual Arts in one building and Performing Arts in the other. A courtyard will connect the two, serving as a venue for community events, outdoor performances, and student life activities. This complex will more than double our academic space and equip our growing student body with the resources needed to produce impactful projects across the creative arts. Plans include a new soundstage, illustration studio, acting rehearsal studio, along with additional classrooms, computer labs, and more.

“Once complete, the new Creative Arts buildings will elevate the student experience and unlock innovative collaborations for our students across all creative disciplines,” said Prof. George Simon, Chair of Communications Media.

In 2021, Simon launched the Feature Film Program at JPCatholic, introducing the production of commercially distributed films into the curriculum. The program’s first film O, Brawling Love! is expected to release on streaming this summer, and the second film No Reception is currently in post-production. The new facilities will expand the capabilities of future projects, with additional space for film sets and production offices.

Founding president Dr. Derry Connolly believes this building will provide critical infrastructure to nurture a creative arts industry cluster in Escondido, which is a key strategic priority for the University.

“This production space will explode our capacity to produce content across the entertainment spectrum,” he said. “It will provide increased hands-on learning experience for our students in collaboration with our alumni and other industry partners as they produce commercially viable projects. The expanding media-savvy student and alumni talent pool will make Escondido a compelling location for emerging communications-centric companies to incubate and grow.”

Renovation is expected to complete in early 2025. This project represents a significant step forward in JPCatholic's multi-year $18M comprehensive Build for Impact Campaign for scholarships and campus expansion funding. To learn more about how you can support the next stages of this campaign, including renovation of our St. Teresa of Calcutta Chapel, please visit

About JPCatholic:
John Paul the Great Catholic University is “the Catholic University for Creative Arts and Business Innovation,” focusing on combining hands-on programs such as film, animation, design, music, acting, and business entrepreneurship with a Catholic liberal arts education in theology, philosophy, and humanities. Launched in 2006 in the Scripps Ranch community of San Diego, JPCatholic relocated to a permanent campus in downtown Escondido in 2013 and has been accredited with WSCUC since 2015. JPCatholic operates on a year-round quarter system, with students earning a bachelor's degree in just three years.