KWUR station plans to relocate from storied office by next summer
KWUR will soon be moving to the Student Media Suite on the third floor of the Danforth University Center, leaving its historic office in the basement of the Ann W. Olin Women’s Building behind.
Since 1976, KWUR has been housed on the lower level behind the Women’s Building.
Five years ago KWUR declined the opportunity to move from its current office in the basement of the Women’s Building to a very visible space on the first level of the DUC. But last year, KWUR agreed to move to the newly renovated Student Media Suite on the DUC’s third floor.
“The main crux is how soon the money can come in for our equipment from the DUC people. A big part of the move is getting some of the equipment, which is all up in the air,” senior Mickey Bradford, general manager of KWUR, said.
Leslie Heusted, director of Danforth University Center and Event Management, said that the DUC staff and KWUR are still trying to confirm a source of funding. Right now, much of the design work is done, but additional funding for construction is still necessary. Meetings are in progress in order to clarify logistics.
Bradford said that some of the financial burden will still likely fall on KWUR, and Student Union will most likely not be providing any funding.
Bradford said KWUR finally decided to move because it heard the Facilities Planning and Management planned to renovate the Women’s building in a way that would disturb the current office space—such as building a staircase through the studio. But Facilities Planning and Management said no such plans were underway.
“The woman’s building is not up to code in a couple of different ways,” Bradford said. “For example, the building is not handicap accessible and not exactly fire safe. The renovations would involve cutting into our space. There is no specific time frame, but it was unclear as to when as good of an opportunity would come up again.” Bradford said.
“We really can’t afford to downsize, so the bigger space in the DUC is one we didn’t want to give up,” he added.
Jill Carnaghi, dean of campus life, said that in 1998, the old KWUR students resisted the move because they wanted to remain underground, but 11 months ago current KWUR members agreed to join the media suite to benefit from new facilities.
Bradford expects the move will be completed by next summer, but the exact timeline is uncertain.
Currently, Bradford describes the new suite as an empty shell that was mostly used as desk and table space for administrative needs. Although space was never an issue at the old station, the space will be a few hundred square feet larger, he said.
A radio architect from V3 Studios will be consulted about the design of the new station, but KWUR is hoping to maintain the same informal and authentic character of the old station.
“The KWUR piece of this project is phase three of a three-phase project. First was the Gephardt Institute that moved in during the spring—that also moved the print media area. The second included the media plaza, the recording studio and part of WUTV. Then the third phase will include KWUR,” Heusted said. “Although we have much of the design work done, there would still be some additional funds needed for the construction.”
While there will be no institutional or staff changes, the move will improve the station’s capabilities. There will be a full digital archiving system, which could not be implemented in the old studio and will allow KWUR to put tens of thousands of CDs into a computer and receive digital files from radio promoters. In addition, the digital archiving system will more easily integrate with the recording studio that will be built in the DUC. This larger audio and video recording studio in the media suite will be shared by both KWUR and WUTV.
“I am excited about the possibilities about having KWUR in this building. We really want to create an atmosphere of collaboration between media groups,” said Heusted.
A wattage increase is also expected, which may potentially expand the broadcast range of the studio. The new station will now be fully up to Federal Communications Commission code because of the new equipment and the larger space.
Because of the rich history and memories that the old station holds, KWUR members still harbor some reservations about moving into a new space.
“There’s 20 plus years of writing on the walls that will all be lost when we move. It’s impossible that in the DUC we will ever get something like this space here again,” said Bradford. “We want to make sure we aren’t losing the personality of the station.”
Junior Taryn Sirias, KWUR treasurer, expressed similar sentiments.
“I am very sad to see the station go. It’s the KWUR I fell in love with, and it’s a very eclectic station. Being there is like being in history itself because of all the writing on the walls,” she said.
Despite what will be lost, Bradford is looking forward to the opportunities that the move may present.
“I think the flip side of that is we need to be looking at how we grow,” he said. “Right now, we’re just looking ahead to make sure this move can go as smooth as possible.”