By Joe Davidson for Rocky Mountain PBS | Rocky Mountain Public Media, Colorado’s largest statewide, member-supported, multimedia organization, broke ground today on the Buell Public Media Center, a multi-purpose building that will house Rocky Mountain PBS and KUVO, serving as a center for public media throughout Colorado and a hub of new development in Denver’s Arapahoe Square neighborhood.
The Buell Public Media Center’s $34 million capital campaign, anchored by a $6 million gift from the Buell Foundation, is now $3.5 million from of its goal and has closed on all needed financing so construction can begin. The campaign total was increased by $4 million from the original $30 million goal to cover the cost of underground parking.
“With the Buell Public Media Center, we are laying the foundation for a new era of public media in Colorado,” said Amanda Mountain, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Public Media. “In collaboration with partners like the City and County of Denver, Emily Griffith Technical College and others, we will bring a whole new level of community engagement and impact to our collective work to strengthen the civic fabric of our state.”
Joining Rocky Mountain Public Media staff, board members, key donors and volunteers at the groundbreaking ceremony today were: Jeff Barratt, executive director and CEO, Emily Griffith Technical College; Rafael Espinoza, City Council, District 1; Allegra “Happy” Haynes, Denver Deputy Mayor; Julie Martinez, director of Denver Media Services; Wayne New, City Council, District 10; Dan Ritchie, president, Buell Foundation; Jenny Schiavone, director of citywide marketing, City and County of Denver; Susan Steele, executive director, Buell Foundation; and Gary Steuer, president and CEO, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.
“To be a globally competitive city, Denver needs a strong public media, a vibrant arts and culture scene, educational opportunities, and job training in creative professions,” Ritchie said. “The Buell Public Media Center gathers all of those under one roof in an innovative way that fits Colorado.”
Located three blocks east of Coors Field, the Buell Public Media Center, paired with the adjacent residential, office and retail project planned for a Lawrence Street parcel sold by Rocky Mountain Public Media, is invigorating neighborhood development. It will also serve as an anchor along the 21st Street section of the 5280 Loop, a visionary project of the City and County of Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership that links neighborhoods and connects people by reimagining underutilized streets into the essential downtown experience uniting urban life with Colorado’s outdoor culture.
The 63,528-square-foot, three-floor facility with underground parking is expected to be completed in early 2020. The Buell Public Media Center’s main street level will include:
Masterpiece Studio, a flex-space black box broadcast studio and community event space;
the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Performance Studio for live performance broadcasts;
the Douglas M. and Hazel Stevens Price Community Conference Room;
the Metzler Family Learning Center, devoted to RMPBS KIDS programming;
the Buzz and Laura Sampson Volunteer Hub;
the Joanne Posner Mayer Community Kitchen;
common areas including a café with outdoor seating;
the RMPBS content production studio; and,
a private courtyard.
In addition, the ground floor will include the Doug Morton and Marilyn Brown Community Classroom, which will combine with community media studios and other offices to create a 5,000-square-foot Community Media Center where Emily Griffith Technical College and the City and County of Denver will teach classes for creative industry jobs, including internship opportunities with RMPBS and other media outlets.
“The Community Media Center represents an exciting expansion of educational opportunities for Emily Griffith Technical College,” Barratt said, “It will open doors to media careers and other creative industry jobs for our students.”
The building’s second floor will house Rocky Mountain PBS and KUVO radio operations, including the Koelbel Live and Local Studio, the Phyllis A. Greer Music Listening Lounge, the Dr. Patricia Pacey and Mr. Charles Neinas Content Hub, and the digital distribution infrastructure to support the media center’s statewide advanced technological capability.
The building’s third floor is earmarked for co-located media enterprises.
The Capital Campaign Cabinet is co-chaired by Mary Sissel, past RMPBS Board Member and community leader; Chad Hollingsworth, senior vice president, corporate development with Liberty Media; and Patricia Pacey, president of Pacey Economics, Inc. The project team includes: Tryba Architects – architect; Mortensen Construction – general contractor; Wells Partnership – owner’s representative; The Kellogg Organization Inc. – fundraising counsel; Pueblo Bank and Trust – banking partner; and Wells Fargo – banking partner.
To watch the project’s progress through its completion, visit Rmpbs.org/capital-campaign.