Nearly a year ago, VPR broke ground on an expansion and renovation of our headquarters in Colchester's historic Fort Ethan Allen.
We're happy to report that as of April, we've successfully moved into the new addition to our building, which features an open, collaborative floor plan that facilitates better coordination and teamwork across departments and platforms to best serve the VPR audience. We're already feeling the effects of a space designed for the way public media operates today. In the words of our colleagues:
"I've been at VPR for 19 years and, because the bulk of the staff is now in one big room, I can feel my connection to everyone for the first time. It's amazing and inspiring."
"The natural light and flexibility of the space make it a much more productive work environment. We can gather around a center table in the newsroom or get solitude in a quiet room; sit or stand at our desks, focus with headphones or chat with nearby teammates."
"It's much easier to engage in an informal conversation about a project or idea. What used to be a hassle of a multi-day email thread or an unnecessarily formal meeting is now just a five-minute impromptu chat with someone a couple desks over. It's a much more creative and fun process, and projects move forward more quickly."
"The cross-department conversation is fantastic. People walk over with news tips. I can check on the progress of a story mix without running down a flight of stairs or using the intercom. Our accounting team doesn't have to email about an expense thing – they walk over with a piece of chocolate instead."
"Just today, sitting the lobby eating lunch with the sun streaming through the skylight, a colleague sat on the nearby couch just to visit, because she saw me sitting there and we don't often bump into each other. We ended up identifying some potential solutions to a work challenge. This awesome interaction would never have happened in the old set up!"
Construction continues in the historic section of the building we've occupied for the last 21 years, as well as in Studio One, a flexible space that will allow VPR to convene the community in ways that weren't possible onsite before, around concerts, lectures, debates and other events .
We're also proud to report that VPR is one of the the first net zero public media facilities in the country. Working in partnership with Efficiency Vermont, the new addition was designed to be net zero in energy use with solar panels on the roof, improved HVAC, water and wastewater technology and improved lighting design to reduce power consumption. The expansion was also built to LEED specifications.
VPR is in the final months of a $10 million capital initiative to fund the building project and new programming initiatives. The capital costs total approximately $8 million to fund construction of the VPR News Center and Studio One. It also includes restoration of VPR's original facility, including critical infrastructure and efficiency upgrades, as well as additional engineering and operations capability. The remaining $2 million will fund innovative new local programming projects, an enterprise/investigative reporting initiative and possibly a new Vermont-focused, contemporary music service.
At the moment, generous donors have contributed $7.5 million to the effort. We are anxious to hit the $8 million mark because when we do, we will "go public" with the campaign and unveil a $1 million matching opportunity from the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation. Every gift will be matched, up to $1 million, to help us cross the finish line and reach our overall goal of $10 million. If you'd like more information about the VPR Next campaign or to make a contribution, please contact Brendan Kinney at 802-654-4389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A strong and committed public media presence provides an enhanced quality of life in our region. Since its founding in 1977, Vermont Public Radio has been an expression and symbol of the local community. Through generous support from our members and local business underwriters over the years, VPR has evolved into a vital and trusted community resource, and our new headquarters will allow us to convene and serve our community like never before.