Hope Channel Breaks Ground for New Studio
at World Headquarters
Expansion will raise Adventist network’s quantity, quality, leaders say
BY ANSEL OLIVER, assistant director for News, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
ince its launch in 2003, the Seventh-day Adventist Church's Hope Channel television network has operated out of a basement studio at the movement’s Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters. The current studio floor has enough space for one set, and production assistants need up to half a day to change designs for different shows.
A new $5 million, multiple-use building with 3,000 square-feet of studio space and room for six sets should change all that. The new facility will help the international Christian television network compete on a global stage with more efficiency and productivity, church officials said during a March 24 groundbreaking ceremony.
General Conference president Pastor Jan Paulsen marked the occasion by using a 70,000-pound excavator to dig into the south lawn on headquarters property as church vice presidents and construction company representatives used hand shovels to break ground.
"You look over the past six years and it's amazing how far we've come," Paulsen said of the network.
Hope Channel produces programming in five languages around the world. The network also uses 11 different satellites to deliver programming globally and offers several language channels online, including Chinese, Norwegian, and Czech.
In February, the network signed a deal with DIRECTV, one of the largest satellite television providers in the United States.
"We have to dramatically improve the quality of our programs because we are now competing with the great giants of television," said Mark Finley, Hope Channel's board chair.
The new studio will help producers increase the quantity of programs with room for multiple standing sets, Finley said. The studio will also be able to link with the 50 Adventist media centers around the world, he said.
The new building is expected to provide a total of 24,000 square-foot of space. Plans include two stories and a basement for a studio control room and storage. The roof is designed to support live vegetation, which will absorb storm water and help reduce runoff.
"This is an exciting building for us," said Don Smith, president of Conewago Enterprises, the construction company in charge of the project.
Several years ago church project leaders considered several sites within the headquarters building for the studio, including the atrium, cafeteria, and work areas. Despite recent cutbacks at headquarters, leaders decided to move ahead with the project because of signed contracts, which would have been expensive to renegotiate.
The building is scheduled for completion within 300 days, said Bob Lemon, world church treasurer and building committee chair. He said the project should be on budget as construction costs have recently declined.
"We look forward to having God's blessings on this project," Lemon said.