On Sunday, September 7, New England Public Radio will officially mark the opening of its new state-of-the-art facility at 1525 Main Street (The Fuller Block) in downtown Springfield with a Grand Opening Celebration.
The public is invited to join in the festivities which begin at 2:00 p.m. with a program at CityStage featuring the host of NPR’s All Things Considered, and former NEPR intern, Audie Cornish as its keynote. Other speakers include Congressman Richard Neal, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor, Kumble Subbaswamy, former NPR Foreign Correspondent and honorary chair of the station’s 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign, Anne Garrels, and B. John Dill, the campaign’s chair.
Following the program, 325 members of The University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band will kick of a festive afternoon with a parade on Main Street, followed by the official ribbon cutting at the station’s new headquarters, and a Block Party in Tower Square Park on the corner of Bridge and Main Streets.
“This is an incredible moment in the station’s 53 year history,” said Martin Miller, CEO and General Manager of New England Public Radio. “Our 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign has raised close to $7.88MM of which $5.7 MM has been raised in support of this facility expansion from hundreds of individuals, the State and Federal government and many community-minded businesses and organizations who have invested in the future of public media in western New England with their support. We are proud to honor their involvement in this project and excited to open our doors to the public on Sunday afternoon.”
The Block Party in Tower Square Park will kick off following the marching band’s parade loop, and will feature music by Grammy-award winner Charles Neville, Avery Sharpe and the Extended Family Singers, Hartford-based trombonist Steve Davis, and others sitting in with Northampton’s Green Street Trio throughout the afternoon. Local food trucks Chanterelle to Go, Sun Kim Bop and Bart’s Homemade will serve up a variety of tasty treats from farm to street sandwiches, Korean street snacks and locally-made ice cream, and several of New England Public Radio’s new Springfield neighbors including the Springfield Museums, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and the Community Music School of Springfield will be set up in the park with activities, exhibits and information about their programing.
NEPR’s new headquarters will house several radio production suites, the station’s newsroom, and music library, along with 30 of its staff including reporters, music hosts, and operations, development and administrative employees who will make the move from the station’s current location at UMass Amherst. A satellite facility will continue at the Five Colleges Studios in Hampshire House at UMass Amherst. The rehabilitation of that facility will be completed in 2015.
Finishing touches are still being put on the new space on Main Street, and NEPR staff will make the move in shifts beginning on September 15, with broadcasting from the new facility slated to begin in October.
The Grand Opening Celebration is free and open to the public, but seating at CityStage is extremely limited and will be granted on a first come, first served basis. Doors open to the public at 1:30.
The UMass Minuteman Marching Band’s parade will begin at approximately 3:15 p.m. Those in attendance wishing to see the band should gather on Main Street between Worthington Street and Harrison Avenue.
The Block Party will begin immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony and run to 6:00 p.m.
For more information, please visit nepr.net/events.