UPDATED: Groundbreaking Held for Thomas H. Draper Media Center i - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

UPDATED: Groundbreaking Held for Thomas H. Draper Media Center in Milton

Groundbreaking was held Monday morning for the Thomas H. Draper Media Center in Milton. (Photo: WBOC) Groundbreaking was held Monday morning for the Thomas H. Draper Media Center in Milton. (Photo: WBOC)

MILTON, Del.- Draper Holdings on Monday held a groundbreaking ceremony in Milton to mark the start of construction of a two-story reception and lobby area on a building that will be renamed the Thomas H. Draper Media Center.

According to Johnny Hopkins, project manager and vice president of Loblolly , LLC., a division of parent company Draper Holdings, the open-air lobby and reception area will be approximately 600-square-feet in size.

The building is being renamed after Draper Holdings' longtime owner Thomas H. Draper, who was killed in a bicycle accident that occurred in September 2017 outside of Milford, Del., just days before he was to celebrate his 50th anniversary in broadcasting.

"You're going to see basically a building that's filled with artifacts from Mr. Draper's life and legacy," he says. "A timeline such as we have in Salisbury, that will identify key points during his life and times in the broadcast industry as well as the farming industry." 

Hopkins said the addition has been designed to complement the current facility, which will house the newly-acquired WRDE, Telemundo Delmarva, Loblolly LLC, WBOC's Sussex County bureau and the company's digital media division.

On hand at Monday's groundbreaking were several local, county and state dignitaries and officials. Longtime friend and past legislator Harvey Kenton says the expansion was natural.

"Tom always wanted to do that; let's keep looking forward. Let's expand but let's do it right," he says. "I am proud [of] the direction you all are going. I know Tom's looking down today with tears in his eyes I'm sure." 

Representing the Draper family was Mr. Draper's son Hank Draper, who said, "This is a very special day for our family, for our business." He noted that the groundbreaking coincided with the 65th anniversary of the launch of WBOC-TV back in 1954.

"We're trying to bring the best product we can to our viewers, as well as to our advertisers here on Delmarva," Hank Draper said. "That's always been my dad's vision...we are committed to growing that, expanding on that."

The project also symbolizes the next steps of WRDE, something General Manager Bob Backman celebrates.

"It's the greatest day of my life," he says. "I started WRDE in an 8x10 wooden garden shed. Now compare that to the plans you seen for WRDE today."

The project's architect is Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc., The general contractor is Gillis Gilkerson.

Work is expected to be completed in four to five months.

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