KHQ reaches new heights
Downtown building to be home for news organization
By Amy Cannata
Construction on KHQ’s new downtown building is reaching its pinnacle, literally.
The building’s 107-foot-tall tower, which is nearing completion, will house microwave transmission equipment used to send the station’s signal to its transmitter on Tower Mountain.
While Operations Manager Scott Blair wouldn’t disclose the cost to construct KHQ’s new 53,000-square-foot facility at 1201 W. Sprague, the city building department estimated the project’s value at just less than $5 million when construction permits were issued. That figure does not include engineering or design costs or any of the equipment that is being installed.
The entire building is more than 30 percent larger than Q-6’s current building at 4202 S. Regal. Blair said no additional staffing is planned at this time.
“From a design standpoint, the (new) building will feature a large open area in the center of the newsroom that looks into the sales and administration area,” he said. “We’re seeing that in several television stations we’ve visited. The concept is to reduce the isolation. It ties those departments together.”
The facility will also bring KHQ up to date with upcoming federal digital broadcasting requirements and include a basement parking garage and covered parking for Q-6’s satellite and microwave trucks on the west side of the building.
Blair said employees are looking forward to moving downtown to be closer to restaurants, shopping, advertising clients and breaking news. And he said he hopes the benefits extend beyond KHQ staff.
“We think that our facility is going to have a far-reaching positive influence on the (West First) neighborhood,” he said. “We feel having a new facility that will have a long life and 100-plus employees working there will bring more support to businesses there that will help improve and clean up the neighborhood.”
Jill Smith, spokeswoman for the Odd Girls LLC, which is renovating the Odd Girls (formerly Odd Fellows) Hall, said she looks forward to KHQ moving into the West First neighborhood.
“I’m encouraged there is going to be a good group of creative people in the area,” she said. “The more things that happen in that area, the more we’re going to encourage people to feel safe there and walk around.”
Smith also is co-owner of EarthGoods, a hemp products company that will be moving into the Odd Girls building in August. Other tenants are also being recruited for the building, which Smith said is designed to be a center for creative, fun companies.
KHQ employees will begin moving downtown in December and complete the move by March 1.
What will become of KHQ’s present South Hill site is uncertain, but Blair said there is no truth to rumors that the property has been sold to a superstore such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot or Target.
“We will not develop it,” he said, “but it will probably be offered for development.”
Tuesday, July 18, 2000