Indiana CBS Affiliate to Donate Facility to PBS Member Station

CBS affiliate WSBT in South Bend, IN, is planning to build a new, larger facility to replace its current 30,000-square-foot base. When it vacates the premises in a couple of years, the building will be donated to local PBS member station WNIT.

Mary Pruess, president and general manager for WNIT, said the PBS member station could spend up to a year renovating the space before it moves its operations. WNIT is currently located at the Elkhart Area Career Center -- its studio is in the school, while its administrative offices are housed in modular buildings near the school's bus barn.

Combined, WNIT's work area is approximately 8,200 square feet.
According to Pruess, a recent architectural needs assessment determined that the station needs a facility that's about the size of the structure that WSBT has outgrown.

While the building is not a full donation—WNIT will pay a modest fee for the transaction—Pruess said it's a significant donation.

Plus, moving into an existing television station will help make renovation easier.

Pruess said the PBS member station has been trying to find new facilities for about two years. The WSBT proposal, one of more than a dozen received by the station, includes some office furniture and equipment.

According to John Mann, general manager for WSBT, the station is currently in the final zoning process for its new facility. He said the station, owned by Schurz Communications, is delighted with providing a new home to the PBS member station, as WSBT supports the idea of multiple voices in the market.

Pruess expects WNIT will be in its new facility by late 2009.