Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

KRLX Studio Renovations Postponed Indefinitely Due to Unanticipated Costs

<vations to the KRLX studio have been postponed indefinitely due to insufficient funds.

In 2017, The KRLX board requested $28,000 from the Carleton Student Association for renovations. IT Engineer Tate Bosler ’19 said, “the original allocations were $10,000 for construction, $18,000 for equipment and furniture.” The KRLX was granted their request in full “through two SPC [Student Projects Committee] ballot referenda — [receiving] $8,000 winter 2017 and $20,000 spring 2017,” according to Bosler.

“Construction estimates [for the KRLX studio renovation] came in at $70-85K, which does not include the removal, upgrade, and re-installation of their all technology, which would likely put total project costs over $100K,” said Director of Student Activites Lee Clark. The $28,000 renovation fund only covers a quarter of these costs.
Radio-frequency (RF) Engineer Jacob Rockey ’19 says their miscalculation was due to Internet-based estimates and “running out of time and really desperately wanting this to happen before we graduate.

“What we didn’t do was get a contractor to come down and assess the space and assess the equipment needs and give us a quote, because just hiring his time to come down would cost our entire budget.” Bosler added, “Our funds are insufficient because we only had an estimate of our technical costs – the cost of getting everything rewired to make the radio work -– and none of the students working on the project know much about commercial construction. This has to be professionally done, we can’t just go to Home Depot and wire things up ourselves.”

The KRLX studio was last updated in 2000, when the studio was integrated to accommodate music streaming devices. “I don’t even think we renovated the studio space as much as we just got a new mixing console,” said Rockey.

“That alone necessitated the complete rewiring of the studio [because] we’re completely analog. A lot of people don’t really think of it as an analog station because people use the studio computer so much, or they play stuff off their phone, but that’s really just kind of a retro fitting into the existing framework of the studio, which runs off analog.
“There’s essentially no computers involved and that’s just not the way that people think of media, since multimedia systems like audio systems are pretty much all digital now.”

The majority of KRLX’s current studio equipment is from the 1970s. “If we wanted to do new wiring, if we wanted to get new boards, if we wanted to go digital, what would that mean?,” said Rockey.

 “We very quickly found out that when we want one thing, it means that thousands of other things also have to happen. If we wanted to go digital that means, we’d have to completely gut the studio and rewire everything,” he said.

KRLX Station Manager Rebecca Newman ’19 adds “The KRLX studio has been in the same physical condition for a few decades now and is in need of some updating. Unfortunately, renovations are very expensive, especially when dealing with expensive equipment in the studio.”

“Questioning whether or not the medium is even relevant is something that comes up every single year and that’s not going to go away,” Rockey continued. “We’re in a weird place, radio’s in a weird place. KRLX is in a weird place and it just seems super odd to completely gut the radio station and then restore it like the way it was.”

Rockey added, “there’s also an appeal to all the old equipment, the graffiti, the spirit of all that time that people spent in there. It’s a relic and it hasn’t changed forever and we’re part of it. And we continue to be adding to that history. Which is why there’s all these efforts to take the graffiti and document it and make a scrapbook of everything that goes on in there. You walk into it and you’re completely struck with how much time has passed.”

Despite setbacks, Durrett, Bosler and Rockey are hopeful renovations will occur in the future. “We are planning different fundraising initiatives and hoping to encourage alumni to donate to the project,” said Durrett.“Right now, I am not sure when the renovation will take place. The class of 2019 and likely the class of 2020 will sadly not be able to broadcast in the newly renovated studio. We are hopeful that a renovation will happen in the next few years!”
“I certainly am disappointed in the project,” said Bosler, “but I hope that we can get enough pieces in place soon, so that future students can just raise money and start knocking out walls.”

“There’s enough traction at this point to where [renovation plans] won’t just go away,” said Rockey. “The plans are there. We have the administration’s eye on it now. It just took a year to get the administration to say, ‘OK, these people are serious about this.’ And now we’re going to make sure it happens eventually.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *