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Dean Musser Jr. | The Journal Gazette
The new press building at 824 W. Main St. rises 92 feet into the air at its peak.

Proud addition to streetscape

Building blends in well despite size

If the words “Fort Wayne Newspapers” weren’t at the top of the new building that sits at 824 W. Main St., that building could be mistaken for many things.

But the one thing it can’t be mistaken for being is big.

The 92-foot-high building – decorated with landscaping and a reddish-brick exterior – is home to Fort Wayne Newspapers’ new press.

And because the new press is 16 feet wide, 124 feet long and 63 feet high, there’s not room for much else.

“We are using every inch of space in the building,” says Phil Haggerty, vice president of operations.

In December 2005, Fort Wayne Newspapers decided to build a state-of-the-art press adjoining its headquarters at 600 W. Main St. The $35 million project replaces the “battleship gray” press that has been printing The Journal Gazette, The News-Sentinel and other publications for more than 50 years, he says.

Inside the new building, which will be home to all 20 press employees, the 2,000-ton press looks like an amusement park ride with colors of red, yellow and blue. When it’s operating, thousands of newspapers hang from it, resembling a mechanical centipede.

And people walking down Main Street can look into the new building through the windows and see how the press is operating. That feature – arched, street-side windows – and brick color and selection have already enabled the building to receive two awards from Fort Wayne organizations, Haggerty says.

“This is in an historic district, and we wanted to reflect and enhance that with our building,” he says. “We also have the glass on the southern-exposure side of the building, and we wanted the press to meet heating and cooling and humidity requirements. We have a cost-efficient heating-and-cooling system. It’s a factory with a nice skin on it.”

Since August, the new press has been producing some sections of the newspaper, Haggerty says. As of Monday, all sections of both newspapers are produced on the new press.

“The other press was outdated. What we have now is highly sophisticated equipment,” says Haggerty, who has worked at two other newspapers installing a new press system. “There are probably only a couple of newspapers in the country that still use the old press equipment. What we will do with the old equipment is part it out, and what we can’t sell or use will go to scrap.”