Flipping the channel

Austin PBS prepares to unveil new state-of-the-art home in Highland area

Austin PBS prepares to unveil state-of-the-art home in Highland area

Austin PBS building
Austin PBS' new home at the ACC campus covers 45,000 square feet of space. Rendering courtesy of Austin PBS
Austin PBS main stairway
The Austin Media Center will include a massive sound stage, an atrium and event space, and a digital incubator studio. Rendering courtesy of Austin PBS
Exterior
ACC students will also have access to the new state-of-the-art media center. Courtesy of Austin PBS
Austin PBS building
Austin PBS main stairway
Exterior

In conjunction with its 60th anniversary, Austin’s PBS station is preparing to move into its new home at Austin Community College’s main campus in North Central Austin.

The operations of Austin PBS (formerly branded as KLRU) will relocate this spring from cramped quarters at the University of Texas’ Moody School of Communication to the roomier new 45,000-square-foot Austin Media Center at ACC’s Highland Campus. The grand opening is set for August.

Nearly 60 full-time employees of Austin PBS will work at the ACC location, where shows like ATX TogetherCentral Texas Gardener, and Overheard With Evan Smith will be taped. Austin City Limits will continue to be taped at downtown Austin’s ACL Live at the Moody Theater.

Austin PBS’ move from the UT campus to the ACC campus has been in the works since 2018. Despite the TV station’s departure from UT, the university will remain a partner of Austin PBS. The station was founded in 1962 as KLRN, serving the Austin and San Antonio markets.

Austin PBS’ tab for construction of the new facility will be paid back to ACC over the course of a 30-year lease. In 2019, Austin PBS launched a capital campaign with a $12 million fundraising goal for furniture, fixtures, and equipment to outfit the space. Austin-based Studio Steinbomer designed the Austin Media Center.

“Our move to the ACC Highland Campus will allow us to be more accessible and more responsive to our diverse and changing Central Texas community,” Lori Bolding, chief operating officer and acting CEO of Austin PBS, tells CultureMap. “We strive to be a bridge, connecting disparate groups by increasing communication and meeting people where they are. Like Austin PBS, ACC places the community as its primary focus, making the partnership a natural fit.”

Highlights of the new space include:

  • A 6,500-square-foot sound stage with seating for about 400 people.
  • An atrium and event space with a combined 4,800 square feet and room for about 300 people.
  • A 1,500-square-foot digital incubator studio.
  • A community conference suite with space for about 100 people.

The center will be available not only to Austin PBS employees, but also to ACC students. While Austin PBS will occupy most of the facility, ACC’s Office of College Relations and Marketing will be housed there as well.