Access channel Community Seven hopes to expand at Lincoln Center

2012-08-27T21:30:00Z 2012-08-28T07:02:05Z Access channel Community Seven hopes to expand at Lincoln CenterBy ROB ROGERS The Billings Gazette

Community Seven is looking to expand at the Lincoln Center, home of School District 2's central office and adult education program.

The SD2 board is keen on the idea, but the district is in the middle of crafting its master facilities plan and some trustees want to wait until the plan is completed before they make any deal with the community access television channel.

Channel Seven occupies about 1,500 square feet and hopes to double its space on the top floor. The expansion could accommodate more editing bays and possibly a secondary studio and control room in the future. What makes the deal appealing to both parties is the opportunity it would give students to learn video production skills.

Trustees Kathy Aragon told the board that she wants to wait until the master facility plan is finished in February before making a decision. The whole point of having that plan is to know how best to utilize SD2 buildings, she said.

However, Community Seven is waiting to lay fiber optic cable and needs to do it before winter. The station can't wait until February, said Lynne Turner Fitzgerald, executive director of Community Cable Corp.

"I need to have some certainty," she told the board.

The board voted to have Superintendent Terry Bouck meet with the district's legal counsel to discuss contract options and possible rental rates for the space. Community Seven does not currently pay rent.

The board also directed Lew Anderson, SD2's facilities director, to discuss Community Seven's moving into the Lincoln Center with the company performing the district's master facilities plan.

The district will also study the cost of making the space available and viable for Community Seven. Currently, that corner of the Lincoln Center houses the district's audiology testing lab, which would be moved across the hallway.

Still, trustees were enthusiastic about the possibility, and Fitzgerald was hopeful a deal could be struck soon.

"It would give us the opportunity to grow into a community media operations center," she said.

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