NORTON - A larger, more visible Norton public access studio might be under construction by the fall.
The Norton Cable Access Corp. board of directors has allocated up to $8,000 to hire an architect for a feasibility study of potential studio sites, Chairwoman Gretchen Stalters and studio Director Jason Benjamin said Thursday.
Norton Cable Access officials are looking at several sites along or near Route 123, between Wheaton College and town-owned properties, Stalters and Benjamin said.
In recent years, Norton Cable Access has occupied the rear of Norton High School on Route 123, rent-free, while opening the studio for school projects, Benjamin said.
"We will have selected a location and we will be in the construction phase most likely by the fall," Benjamin said.
Stalters said "We're going to see what space works best and how much everything is going to cost."
Benjamin said cable access officials have discussed the new studio being at least three times the size of the Norton High studio.
A computer lab and a large group training area also have been discussed, he said.
Stalters said improving the studio's visibility is among the goals.
Benjamin said new signs for the current studio erected earlier this year are "temporary until we find a new location." "One big issue definitely was visibility, something that people could notice," Stalters said.
The Norton High space was supposed to be temporary, she said.
Norton Cable Access could stay there "if everything falls through," Stalters said. "We don't have to leave there," she said.
Benjamin said a new studio would "dovetail" with Norton installing a main fiberoptic line this spring.
Town and school buildings ultimately will connect to the line, bringing faster connections.
The new network will alleviate disconnections attributed to the existing 30-year-old copper line.
MICHAEL GELBWASSER can be reached at 508-236-0439 or at email@example.com.