NBC Connecticut, Now on Air in HD

Since 1953, the home of Connecticut's local NBC station has been in the same building, but that all changes Thursday as we broadcast for the first time from our new home.

"It's kind of been like a home away from home for me for two-thirds of my life," said chief political correspondent Tom Monahan, who has been an employee for more than four decades.

But four years ago, design work began on a new home for NBC Connecticut.  A year and a half ago, ground was broken on the project to put a new building on the same plot of land as the old building in West Hartford.

"It's an amazing project and an amazing opportunity for anyone who gets to work on something like this," said Keith Barbaria, Director of Technology and Engineering.

There was first the construction phase, which included blasting and building. In total, 70 tons of steel was brought in for the project.

"That's two-thirds of the project and the last third is making it a TV station," Barbaria said.

This isn't a first-time experience for Barbaria. Before coming to NBC Connecticut, he played a key role in redesigning the "Today Show" studio.

"The room might be smaller, but the gear and equipment they're using is exactly the same. The quality will be exactly the same," he said.

Our new studio and newsroom are in one big room.

"It's an open facility. The second-floor mezzanine overlooks all glass-front offices. It was built with the idea of teamwork and collaboration.  You can see where everyone is. Everyone works together. It's an open community," Barbaria said.

Then there's the technology. When stretched out, all the wires required to getting us on television measure 95 miles.

"It's state of the art equipment.  We waited until the very end to purchase everything to make sure we were getting the latest version of whatever it was," Barbaria said.

NBC Connecticut is the first TV station in Connecticut to broadcast in high definition.

"It's the detail. It's twice the resolution of what you're used to seeing. The colors pop, just the pictures look beautiful. It's closer to what your eyes see and less than what a camera sees," Barbaria said.

In keeping an eye toward the future, NBC was also forward-thinking on energy efficiency in this new facility.

"We tried as hard as we could in every aspect to make a green choice, down to recycled material for the carpet.  We have a white roof, which reflects the sunlight and reduces the load on the HVAC system. I would say half, or a little more, of our studio lights are fluorescent dimmables. So again, drawing less electricity, less heat for the studio."

All lights are also on sensors. We have automatic faucets and self-powered flush valves on our toilets and when our old building comes down, as much of it as possible will be recycled.

So, as we step into the future, we do so with excitement and pride.

"Finally, a station that's worthy of the town it's in and the state we service," said Barbaria.

"To be honest with you, I didn't think in my time that I'd see it. NBC coming in and stepping up and doing it. It's gorgeous,” Monahan said.

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