Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Production Plants Defy the Downturn

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Production Plants Defy the Downturn

Article excerpt

From the oldest cities to the newest, newspapers invest and build

Recession or no, newspapers nationwide are pursuing production-plant projects -- including plans to put a new plant in a new planned city, as well as a fresh start for a recently divorced joint- operating- agreement partner.

As the economy was slumping into recession, the New York Post's new river-view plant went into production, and it's been a busy year ever since. Alabama alone had at least four projects in progress, ranging from planning to near completion. By early fall, The St. Augustine (Fla.) Record's entire staff had moved into new quarters; the Johnson Newspaper Corp. was nearing completion of a 17,000-square-foot plant in Massena, N.Y., where a 12-unit Dauphin Graphic Machines model 440 will take over from two other sites now printing three dailies (and two weeklies) other than the publisher's flagship Watertown Daily Times; construction continued at Advance Publications' Syracuse (N.Y.) Newspapers and at the King County (Wash.) Journal Newspapers; companies in the early stages of projects included suburban-Chicago's Paddock Publications Inc. and Pennsylvania's Calkins Newspapers; and Advance's Booth Newspapers Inc. in Michigan was seeing a spurt of projects resulting from production modernization.

The day after Thanksgiving, The Roanoke (Va.) Times broke ground for its $31.6-million, 52,000-square-foot plant. To be linked by a skywalk to the paper's current building, the production facility's press hall will rise 70 feet over six towers of the country's first Heidelberg Mainstream press -- to be visible through a glass-and-brick front wall. Roanoke was an early computer-to-plate (CTP) site, and project director Chip Harris earlier cited savings from the one-plate-around, four-page- wide Mainstream's "significant" savings on plate and processing chemistry costs. Harris also credited Heidelberg's engineers with "working closely with our architects and contractors in planning the design of our new press facility."

Another so-called 1-by-4 or straight-only press, a Regioman from MAN Roland, was selected for a project announced early this year, after the Hawaii Newspaper Agency ended with the purchase and separate operation of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Toward its 2004 operating target, "everything seems to be going as planned," said Marty Black, The Honolulu Advertiser's production director since April, after being lured from his job as The Seattle Times' prepress manager by Advertiser Production Vice President Bill Bogert, who is focusing attention on the new-plant project.

The 152,098-circulation Gannett Co. Inc. daily will erect a 150,000- square-foot building close to Oahu's east-west highway, on 11.6 acres in Kapolei -- a master-planned second city about 20 miles west of Honolulu, across Pearl Harbor in Honolulu County. Created by the Campbell Estate, a trust that must divest its holdings by 2007, Kapolei is designed for self-sufficiency and global business, with industrial, commercial/retail, residential, agricultural, resort, and recreation areas, plus schools, government buildings, and its own harbor.

"It was just about the only place on the island where we could get the space we needed and build there, too," said Black, "There's not that much space left on the island."

The Advertiser retained MAN-affiliate Eurografica, whose architects and engineers will work with local design firm AM Partners. …

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