KPLU breaks ground on new broadcast center

South Sound jazz and NPR radio station KPLU announced recently it broke ground on a new broadcast center located on the Pacific Lutheran University campus.
When it opens in 2009, the Martin J. Neeb Center will increase the station’s physical footprint to over 13,000 square feet — compared to 5,000 in the current facility– and will include state-of-the-art facilities, environmentally stable storage for classic records, and improved workspace for KPLU employees.
According to the station, its main studios, jazz collection, and administrative offices have been housed in Eastvold Hall on the PLU campus for over 40 years. The studios were designed in an era of radio now relegated to history, and are long overdue for technological upgrades. In addition, Eastvold will undergo a complete renovation in the near future.
One significant aspect of KPLU’s new building is its incorporation of stringent environmental standards into the design and construction. The center will likely qualify for a “gold” rating as part of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The new building, which will be located at 125th and Park Avenue, is being designed by Bloomfield and Associates and Helix Architecture + Design. Construction will take between 10 and 12 months, and KPLU will move in during first quarter 2009.
The center will be named after Martin Neeb, who served as KPLU’s general manager for more than 25 years, leading the station from a small, student-run operation to a world-renowned jazz and news format that is currently accessible to 3 million people in western Washington and parts of Canada and Oregon. KPLU has a weekly audience of 500,000 and the station’s jazz webstream at is regularly in the top 10 most listened-to webstreams in the world.
The capital campaign for KPLU’s new building got a boost in September 2006 with a $1 million donation from Neeb’s brother, Dr. Larry Neeb, a PLU regent and long-time KPLU supporter, who for nearly 30 years, was president of Creative Communications for the Parrish, a St. Louis, MO-based ecumenical publishing company. He retired in 2007.