KFOX-TV 14 Television Broadcasting Facility

KFOX-TV 14 had strictly been a pass-through operation for the Fox network when Cox Broadcasting purchased the station. With a goal of boosting market share, Cox determined that KFOX should produce an hour-long nightly news program.

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Project Description: 

KFOX-TV 14 had strictly been a pass-through operation for the Fox network when Cox Broadcasting purchased the station. With a goal of boosting market share, Cox determined that KFOX should produce an hour-long nightly news program.

With less than a year to prepare for the transition, KFOX selected The Austin Company to provide planning, architectural design, engineering and construction services for a major station renovation to facilitate production and airing of the newscast.

KFOX chose The Austin Company based on its long association with the television and radio broadcasting industry, as well as Cox’s own experience with Austin’s performance on other Cox projects — particularly a state-of-the-art, all digital broadcast center for the company’s flagship television station, WSB-TV Channel 2 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Early in the planning phase, the Austin/KFOX planning team concluded that one of the best ways to make the nightly, primetime news show a success would be to create a space where camera locations could be varied to change the viewer’s visual perspective throughout the broadcast. To accomplish this, the news studio needed to be as large as possible. The team also concluded that KFOX’s leased space on the ground floor of a 1970s-vintage building would not support the new production requirements. The station would not only need additional space for a production studio, newsroom and related areas, but provisions would also have to be made to house the required technical equipment.

The Austin/KFOX planning team soon envisioned the original two-story lobby as an ideal location for the news studio, which would be designed to open visually into the newsroom beyond. To make room for the required studio support area, a plan was developed to retrofit vacated second-floor offices, previously occupied by short-term tenants, to house KFOX executive offices, the business, traffic, sales and promotion departments, a conference room and an employee lounge. Once the majority of station operations moved upstairs, the first floor would then be ready for a fast-paced renovation to accommodate the studio, newsroom, production and engineering offices, and the technical core area.

More than half of the KFOX staff would be moving to the second floor, but the building had only one usable interior staircase. The planning team decided that the facility would function better with a second interior stairway. The team’s first thought was to construct a circular stairway in the center of the building where the original owner’s circular staircase once stood. The downside of this idea was that the stairway would have to be part of the news shot since the studio would need maximum space and the staircase would be located in the middle of the first floor.

To help visualize the concept, The Austin Company constructed a scale model of the two-story building, which demonstrated the effect of the mass and shape of the circular stairway in the studio space. The model proved the circular stairway concept as workable, and Austin incorporated it into the studio/newsroom design. In addition to providing single-responsibility design and construction services, Austin worked closely with the designers of KFOX’s news set and studio lighting. Austin also upgraded the building to comply with local codes, as well as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and life-safety requirements.

KFOX’s facility renovation was completed on schedule.

Project Stats: 
Austin Services Provided: Planning, Design, Engineering, Construction
Location: 

El Paso, TX

Project Client: 

KFOX-TV 14

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