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Students in journalism and media studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) don't have to go far to gain experience in cutting-edge television and radio stations. They have working broadcast studios right on campus, in a new building featuring technical facilities designed by Russ Berger Design Group (RBDG). The Greenspun College of Urban Affairs has settled into its newly-completed home, Greenspun Hall, and both the facility and the technology inside it rival the most sophisticated broadcast stations.

UNLV students benefit from seeing first-hand how actual programming is produced. Dan Grimes, UNLV manager of instructional production and engineering, explains that an important goal of the project was to create a professional learning environment for the students. “The whole facility is centered on education, but is also set up like many professional broadcast facilities,” says Grimes. “We didn’t want students to go through our facility and then go out into the real world and be surprised."

RBDG designed the 28,000-square-foot, all digital, high-definition broadcast facility to include two television studios, three radio production and performance studios, video and audio production control, editing bays, post-production suites, and a full broadcast newsroom, all organized around a central equipment hub of media servers and broadcast gear. Instructional environments include labs for writing, nonlinear editing, and convergent media. The complex also has a 200-seat auditorium built to accommodate broadcast production as well as multimedia lectures and presentations. “Whether it’s for educational or professional use, it’s important to us when designing a broadcast space that it inspires creativity,” notes Russ Berger, president of RBDG. “Greenspun Hall has the new technology to support that creativity, and it lets the faculty and students explore the limits of a whole range of traditional and emerging media."

Overall, Greenspun Hall is a 117,000 square foot building, designed by the esteemed New York architectural firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects together with HKS Architects in Dallas. UNLV and the Greenspun family, whose $37 million donation made the building possible, established sustainable design as a top priority. "With the state of Nevada and the university as a whole looking to reduce its carbon footprint," notes Grimes, "energy conservation and green building principles were important factors in both the design and technologies involved.” One of the building's environmentally friendly features is an outdoor plaza above the ground-level studios, covered by a canopy of photovoltaic panels to generate energy for the structure. A majority of the spaces are cooled using highly efficient chilled-beam systems. The project is slated to earn LEED ® Gold Level certification.

"Creating a space that meets the technical demands of a broadcast studio but also incorporates the best in 'green' design is always a challenge," says Berger, "but we've developed innovative solutions to satisfy both goals. The best result is one that is both technically outstanding and environmentally responsible. This facility will inspire and nurture tomorrow's broadcasters while helping to preserve resources for the future."

The new Greenspun College of Urban Affairs building brings journalism and media studies, communication studies, criminal justice, public administration, social work, and environmental studies together under one roof. One of the most innovative journalism buildings in the country, the facility houses UNLV TV, the campus cable station, and KUNV, the campus FM radio station, both of which are operated by student and professional staff.

The new technical facilities incorporate a workflow that is almost entirely tapeless, and utilize the latest in broadcast equipment. The radio studios have Axia consoles and an Enco automation system for play out. The TV studios are outfitted with four Sony HDC 1400 cameras, a Sony MVS 6000 production switcher, a Harris Inscriber CG and Harris terminal gear. The facility uses Avid Media Composer for editing, Avid INews for its newsroom system, Avid Unity Isis for storage and Avid Air Speed Multi Stream for its play out servers and record servers.