KTVA staff returns to renovated newsroom after earthquake damage
After nearly six months, KTVA 11 News staff are back in the newsroom in East Anchorage following November's 7.1 magnitude earthquake.
"It's good to be back where it all began for me," photojournalist Kevin Kelleher said.
"Kind of like the first day of school," said chief meteorologist Melissa Frey.
People in the newsroom dove for cover under desks when the Nov. 30 earthquake hit. Ceiling tiles fell, a newsroom camera and large TV monitors were knocked to the ground and water shot from broken sprinkler pipes; creating puddles in the newsroom.
Nobody was hurt.
Today, there's no sign in the newsroom that anything happened. New TV monitors are back up on walls, new lighting is installed and there's new flooring and ceiling tiles, among many other improvements.
Erik Kuhlmann, director of engineering and operations for Denali Media, said it was a five-and-a-half month effort that involved a lot of contractors.
"Working 12- and 15-hour days to put this back together," said Kuhlmann.
He added, "For the most part this place was gutted and moved into storage. And what we could save, we saved and put back to use. And the rest of it we had to replace."
News operations continued in the building for about two weeks after the earthquake before the decision was made to completely move the newsroom and equipment to a temporary building in Midtown Anchorage. The move in December took only a day and a half, while the move back home took only a day, according to Kuhlmann.
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