Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Missouri Expands, Pennsylvania Plans

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Missouri Expands, Pennsylvania Plans

Article excerpt

As one project ends, two more will put new presses in new places

Some are better prepared to weather a downturn than others. With growing circulation, more commercial work than it's been able to handle, and a contract to print The New York Times, the 100-year-old Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune is putting the final touches on a building addition that will house its fourth offset press in its third pressroom expansion in the last 30 years.

Sending employees' cars to other lots it owns, the Tribune used a parking lot on the city block it occupies to put up a 184-foot-long addition to its building, creating 19,600 square feet of space for a 48-unit, two-folder Goss Universal 45 single-wide, one-around press and almost as much space below ground for 20 reelstands and paper storage. Linked by fiber-optic cable, the 50,000-square-foot production plant, built in 1986, and the original three-story downtown headquarters, built in 1972, were designed by Bernheim & Kahn Architects. Family-owned Tribune Publishing Co. retained the same firm -- now an affiliate of SAS Architects & Planners, Northbrook, Ill. -- two years ago for the plant extension when Publisher Henry J. Waters III was about to sign a contract to print the Times. The project's general contractor, Professional Contractors & Engineers Inc., is the successor company to the builder of the production plant and the older headquarters, which still houses business offices, the newsroom, and electronic prepress.

The eight-unit Harris 845 press that moved across the street to the production plant and commercial-printing operation grew to 18 units and was joined by an eight-unit Goss Community. But even after the latter was replaced by a 12-unit, two-folder Dauphin Graphic Machines model, production had become a round-the-clock, six-day operation, according to the architects and newspaper management.

Still, without the Times contract, expansion would "certainly not [be] on this scale," said Associate Publisher and Treasurer Vicki S. Russell, who valued the investment in plant and equipment at $16 million. With "hundreds of customers," the commercial-printing business pulls in $7.5 million a year, excluding the Times contract. Russell would not disclose the number of Times copies likely to be printed in Columbia, but said they would reach readers in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, as well as cities in Kansas and Nebraska.

Besides having to relocate water mains and sewers, challenges that delayed the project, according to SAS Senior Associate Larry Kahn, included setting a load-bearing foundation on limestone 12 feet below the existing plant's footings -- time-consuming work performed last winter that required the existing foundation to be stabilized during excavation. …

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