by Jon Dalrymple
COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. February 21, 2010 - Blue Mountain Television celebrated the grand opening of its new location with a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday, February 20, 2010. The new production facilities and offices of the Christian television ministry are now located in the SonBridge Community Center in College Place, Washington.
Having spent the first 20 years of their broadcast ministry in the attic of the College Place Village Church, the board and staff of the station are excited to be more than doubling their square footage.
"We are very thankful for our faithful supporters who made it possible for us to make this move," said Dan Thesman, Station Manager of the non-profit, viewer supported ministry, "These new offices will give us a much better advantage toward our mission of sharing the gospel through television."
Over 200 people crowded into the assembly room of the community center to watch the ceremony. Before the ribbon was cut, many stories were shared by founders, board members, as well as current and former staff of the station. In addition, representatives of the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Hope Channel, a service that provides Adventist television programming to the station, offered congratulatory remarks.
"When television was first invented, experts said that people wouldn't have time to watch it," said Roger Johnson, a local area pastor and board member, "and when the computer was invented experts said nobody would ever want one in their home. But now there isn't a day that goes by that we don't hear of how the ministry of Blue Mountain Television is changing people's lives."
"This is a special milestone event for me," said Lynelle Ellis, who was the first manager of the station. I feel like a parent who has seen her child grow up. To have a place like this to do our ministry was something we only dreamed of. And now the dream has become reality."
"When we first started talking about television ministry people said it wouldn't work," said Harold Kostenko, one of the founders of the station, "they said, 'you won't be able to support yourselves for more than six months.'"
Now, 20 years later, the station reaches over 37,000 viewers per month in the Walla Walla Valley and they are currently negotiating to expand on cable to another potential 43,000 viewers in the Tri-Cities, Yakima and Wenatchee areas.
"Yet this ministry has yet to reach its full potential," said Jim Roe, station volunteer engineer and board member, "we have opportunity to go beyond all of this. Today is just another beginning in sharing the message of Jesus."