WGCL-TV Digital Broadcasting Facility

The Austin Company provided single-source, fully-integrated architectural, engineering and construction services for WGCL-TV’s broadcast center in Midtown Atlanta. The facility helped the CBS affiliate become the first station in the Atlanta market to broadcast news in an all-digital, high-definition format.

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Project Description: 

The Austin Company provided single-source, fully-integrated architectural, engineering and construction services for WGCL-TV’s broadcast center in Midtown Atlanta. The facility helped the CBS affiliate become the first station in the Atlanta market to broadcast news in an all-digital, high-definition format.

The Austin Company was selected to lead the project based on its depth of experience in planning digital broadcast facilities and its continuous relationship with the station’s parent company, Meredith Corporation. WGCL-TV is the sixth broadcast center The Austin Company has completed for Meredith.

Drawing on experience in design-build work for Meredith-owned FOX 49 KPDX in Portland, Oregon, Austin was able to quickly establish the necessary space requirements for WGCL-TV’s new facility. Austin also secured a site-development permit and began performing construction preparation activities before final construction documents were complete. Multiple building permits, phased construction and exemplary construction management enabled Austin to accelerate the schedule over traditional means of project delivery.

The 53,900 SF broadcast center includes a studio for live, on-camera news. It features 10 edit rooms, three Avid® rooms and a voiceover booth. A second studio accommodates a variety of smaller productions, such as commercials and election debates. Each studio is supported by its own control room and audio booth.

At the heart of the broadcast center is the master control room, equipped with 43 electronic equipment racks and an overhead projector system. The central rack room powers the entire station with 36 equipment racks. These vital spaces are backed up by an emergency power supply. Critical equipment is supported by an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system to ensure that electrical service is available around the clock to keep the station operational on a 24/7 basis.

WGCL-TV’s five-acre site has two parking lots, one with 25 spaces for visitors and the second with parking for 178 employees. A covered parking structure with shore power service for 10 news vans also serves as a landing pad for the WGCL-TV news helicopter.

It was critical that WGCL-TV’s former analog television facility (then WGNX-TV) remained in operation until a smooth transition to the new digital facility could be made. Austin developed a schedule for planning, design, construction and coordination with the electronic systems integrator. The schedule allowed the station to switch over to the new facility on a weekend. The station changed its call letters to WGCLTV (Georgia’s Clear TV) when it transitioned to the new facility.

The Southeast Chapter of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) recognized The Austin Company for its design and construction work, and selected WGCL-TV as the “Best Project in the Private Sector” in that year’s Design-Build Award Competition. The project also received an “Excellence in Construction” award from the Mississippi Associated Builders and Contractors.

Project Highlights:

  • The broadcast center is serviced by more than 40 miles of cable. To facilitate management of power, telephone, data and broadcast cable, Austin provided access flooring in technical areas, such as the master control room. Cable trays and conduits provide pathways to connect the central rack room with four roof-mounted satellite dishes, six ground-mounted satellite dishes and a 75-foot monopole antenna.
  • Metal-stud framing supports the facility’s brick facade.
  • Studio floors are “super-flat” to accommodate robotic camera motion.
  • On-air studios have high-volume/low-velocity HVAC and are powered by the facility’s stand-by generator.
  • Sensitive broadcast equipment, including satellite dishes and antenna, has a copper strap grid bonded for ground and is connected to a building ground system bonded to structural steel.
  • The building is fully supported by a sprinkler system for fire protection. Special pre-action sprinklers, which do not fill with water until the fire alarm is activated, were installed in broadcast equipment areas to protect equipment from water damage.
Project Stats: 
Square Footage: 53,900
Austin Services Provided: Design, Engineering, Construction
Location: 

Atlanta, GA

Project Client: 

WGCL-TV

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