Magazine article Editor & Publisher

E&P Technical: Centralizing Central New York

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

E&P Technical: Centralizing Central New York

Article excerpt

Having enclosed and begun equipping a newly constructed plant last fall, Gannett's Central New York Newspaper Group is on track to produce three dailies at one site later this year.

"All the press iron is in. The building is in its punch-list stage," Gannett Production Vice President J. Austin Ryan said just before Thanksgiving, when conveyors were going into the packaging center.

Managed by Production Director Darrell Sandlin and with day-to-day oversight by Andy Swanton, the $48 million project dates from

fall of 2003, with a site selected by early 2004 (E&P, Oct. 20, 2003). The plant will house a Koenig & Bauer AG press line, Goss inserters, and Quipp packaging systems. HFR Media Group in Nashville, Tenn., was responsible for architectural design and engineering; local employee-owned McFarland-Johnson handled the project's mechanical, electrical, and plumbing specifications.

Built in Johnson City on a 12-acre brownfield site last used by a shoe factory 12 years ago, the 96,000-square-foot facility will employ 115 people to print and package the Press & Sun-Bulletin, based in neighboring Binghamton, Elmira's Star-Gazette, and The Ithaca Journal. Each paper's news and business offices will remain at its current location, with the Journal reporting that it will make "a substantial investment in its downtown property."

The Binghamton daily's site could not provide space for both a large new plant and employee parking. Other sites in Broome and Tioga counties were considered, according to a Gannett News Service report. But the former Endicott Johnson Ranger Paracord site was selected for its proximity to highways necessary for distribution of three dailies into four counties and because the Press & Sun-Bulletin has promoted re-use of former industrial sites. "This was a unique opportunity to lead by example," said the paper's president and publisher, Bernard M. Griffin.

Griffin told E&P that the three papers' locations and circulation coverage relative to one another, their delivery windows, and the timing -- based on analysis of future equipment and circulation needs, as well as increasing manufacturing and delivery costs -- made for "a choice region for consolidation."

Distances and time were important considerations. Each paper is headquartered in a county seat, and the three counties surround a fourth that has no daily of its own. The papers' distribution areas have some overlap, but those areas "are not contiguous," said Griffin.

Building on the brownfield

The choice of a brownfield site with contaminated soil garnered "a lot of state and local support," said Griffin. Among others, state Senator Tom Libous was involved from planning through site redevelopment, according to Griffin.

Since 2003, New York has had a Brownfield Cleanup Program, in which private parties and industrial development agencies can participate in site remediation overseen by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation. Gannett, the site's previous owner, and the county's development agency undertook the measures required to safely occupy the site, where there already had been an interim spot removal of contaminated soils, according to information published by the DEC.

DEC certification that the approved remediation is completed relieves the participants of liability to the state for contamination (under certain conditions) and makes them eligible for tax credits to offset remediation and redevelopment costs.

Beyond site preparation, the building required a foundation that offered protection from any ongoing emission of volatile organic compounds from the soil. According to Griffin, the design called for an underslab ventilation system and soil barrier throughout the developed area.

At Gannett, production chief Ryan explained that underslab ventilation occurs in a porous and open area in the ground that is filled with concrete gravel aggregate. …

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