"Thanks to the Fagens we have begun the work of designing the Pioneer of tomorrow." said Pioneer General Manager Les Heen as he hoisted a shovel along with Pioneer Board Chair Patricia Kubly, the Fagens and their employees. Several elected officials joined them in the groundbreaking ceremony, including Senators Gary Dahms, R -Redwood Falls and Lyle Koenen DFL-Clara City, Representatives Chris Swedzinski R-Ghent, Tim Miller R-Prinsburg, Paul Anderson R-Starbuck, Yellow Medicine County Commissioner John Berends, Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski and City Council member Joe Fagnano. "We look forward to producing more great local programs and improving our service to the region with this new building," Heen added.
“We are very excited to be the catalyst in the upcoming relocation of Pioneer Public Television,” said Ron and Diane Fagen. “Bringing an organization known for their excellent programming with a long term commitment and high quality jobs is important for the growth of the Granite Falls community. We look forward to this project and are ready to welcome this new company and their staff to our community.”
MSR architects of Minneapolis is designing the building. Architectural drawings show how the campus will blend in with the surrounding prairie landscape and compliment the adjacent Blue Devil Valley Scientific and Natural Area and 3.8 billion-year-old exposed granite rocks in Granite Falls. It will feature two sound-controlled studios, a cutting edge master control room, a green room, a community meeting room, editing suites, offices and outdoor performance spaces.
Construction of the all new facility is scheduled to be completed by December, 2016. When the new facility is completed, Pioneer expects to add 3 new staff to bring the total number of Pioneer employees to 26.
Pioneer will continue to maintain a tower, transmitter and microwave relays near Appleton in order to serve its broadcast network. Pioneer currently has a request in the Minnesota State Legislature’s bonding bill for $1.95 million for new equipment for the facility -- which includes a new relay tower in Granite Falls that will link to the 1,500 foot head-end tower in Appleton. The fate of that request is as yet unknown and is dependent on whether or not Governor Dayton convenes a special session to approve the bonding bill.
“We have greatly appreciated the support of the Appleton community for these many years-- it was the people of Appleton who worked hard to bring educational television to western Minnesota 50 years ago ,” said Pat Kubly, the Chair of Pioneer’s Board of Directors. “We also look forward to a new era of producing quality television in Granite Falls.”