Vermont Public Radio Breaks Ground On Expansion And Renovation Of Colchester Headquarters

Aug 11, 2015

Vermont Public Radio recently broke ground on an $8 million expansion and renovation of its headquarters, located in Colchester’s historic Fort Ethan Allen district.

“This project represents the next step in VPR’s evolution as a public media organization serving the state of Vermont,” said VPR President Robin Turnau. “Our improved facilities will allow us to enhance and expand our public service while engaging the community in new and innovative ways.”

At the heart of the three-phase project is the construction of the VPR News Center, a collaborative space for the news, digital and programming teams at VPR. An open floor plan will facilitate better coordination and teamwork across disciplines and platforms to best serve the VPR audience.

VPR will expand on its role as a convener of conversations and more with the construction of Studio One. This flexible space will have the ability to host a wide range of events, performances and meetings, and will be audio- and video-ready for live and recorded broadcasts. A unique feature of Studio One will be a highly flexible seating system that will allow for an in-studio audience of more than 75 attendees.

While the construction project doubles the square footage of VPR’s headquarters, it will do so in a sustainable manner. A major feature of the new construction will be a “net zero” approach to energy use. Working in partnership with Efficiency Vermont, the new construction will include many energy-saving features and a rooftop solar array. While not seeking LEED certification, all project partners are committed to building to a minimum of the “gold” standard in construction materials and techniques.

VPR moved into its current location in 1995, after a renovation project that started with the shell of the long dormant Fort Ethan Allen veterinary hospital and resulted in a state-of-the-art broadcast facility. Over the last two decades, since moving into its headquarters, VPR has created two distinct broadcast services: one for news and the other for classical music, in addition to extensive digital services at VPR.net. The headquarters were originally designed for a maximum of 27 full-time employees; VPR now has a full- and part-time staff of 58 employees.

“As our services expanded over the years, so did our staff,” said Turnau. “We have worked creatively to use every nook and cranny to accommodate our team, but it’s no longer sufficient. Also, the original facility needs important upgrades such as fire suppression, technology infrastructure improvements, more efficient cooling and heating systems, more bathrooms and accessibility for all visitors.”

Last year, VPR embarked on a $10 million capital initiative to fund this three-phase project and new programming initiatives. To date, the station has secured the necessary funding to begin the first two phases of construction. The remaining work will commence when the campaign is successfully completed.

For more information about the capital campaign, please contact Brendan Kinney at bkinney@vpr.net or 802-654-4389.

The architect for the VPR project is Wiemann & Lamphere of Colchester. The construction manager is Neagley & Chase of South Burlington. It is expected that the first two phases of construction will be completed in early 2016. The final phase, a renovation of the original historic building, including many energy efficiency upgrades, will follow and take about a year to complete.

Listener-supported Vermont Public Radio has been serving the people of Vermont and the surrounding region since 1977. As Vermont's only statewide public radio network, VPR is a trusted and independent source for news, music, conversation, NPR programming and much more. The latest news, playlists, schedules, stations and live streams are at VPR.net and on your smartphone.