Public Media Commons

The Nine Network of Public Media, Grand Center Inc. and the University of Missouri-St. Louis Hold Groundbreaking for Innovative Public Media Commons
October 30, 2012

New Grand Center Outdoor Destination Space Will Feature Interactive Technology Amid Dynamic Environment

The Nine Network of Public Media, Grand Center Inc. and the University of Missouri-St. Louis broke ground Tuesday, October 30 on the Public Media Commons, a new and unique destination space located between the Nine Network and St. Louis Public Radio in Grand Center. A groundbreaking ceremony at 11:00 a.m. on the site next to the Nine Network, 3655 Olive St., marked the beginning of construction.

Taking part in the groundbreaking will be Nine Network President and CEO Jack Galmiche, Grand Center Inc. President and CEO Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr., University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor Thomas George and St. Louis Public Radio General Manager Tim Eby, as well as donors to the privately financed project. Also present were board members and staff of the three organizations as well as the community.

The one-of-a-kind Public Media Commons will give the Grand Center district a focal point for art, culture and public dialogue in an open environment featuring interactive technology, large-screen projections on the entire east wall of the Nine Network building, performance stages for small groups, multiple seating areas, green space and a window into Nine’s studio. It represents the first section of a pedestrian corridor that will extend through the middle of Grand Center linking the district from Grandel Square on the north to Lindell Boulevard on the south.

“This will be the only place in the country where arts, education and public media come together in an interactive outdoor space specifically designed to engage people in the cultural life of the community,” said the Nine Network’s Jack Galmiche. “We envision an energetic space that attracts and engages people of all ages. It will be a powerful expression of how we envision the future of public media.”

Financing for the Public Media Commons was generously provided by Emerson, Ken and Nancy Kranzberg, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Edward Jones, Interco Charitable Trust, The Trio Foundation of St. Louis, and the Richard A. Baker Foundation.

Construction is expected to take a year. The Public Media Commons was designed by a team from Powers Bowersox Associates Inc. led by Ben Gilmartin, AIA, who previously worked on the Lincoln Center Promenade. Other elements of the Public Media Commons were designed by Electrosonic, Inc.; Dlandstudio, LLC; Randy Burkett Lighting Design, Inc.; and HDR, Inc. Electrosonic provided audio/visual design and implementation on the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and Millennium Park in Chicago.


Powers Bowersox Associates, Inc., has been selected to serve as architect of record and systems design consultant for an innovative public media plaza in the Grand Center District. The design team includes nationally acclaimed architect Ben Gilmartin, known for his work on the Lincoln Center Promenade.

Below: an illustration of the kind of large-format video projection seen at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and envisioned for St. Louis.