‘Honolulu Advertiser’ Plant Nears Completion

By: Jim Rosenberg

“We expect to be pretty much done with the building by mid-December,” Production Director Martin Black said last week of The Honolulu Advertiser’s new production and distribution facility in Kapolei, about a 20-mile drive west around Pearl Harbor.

With the building enclosed, most of the remaining work consists of roofing over the metal decking, completing mechanical and heating, ventilation, and cooling systems for the mailroom, applying a synthetic plaster insulation to wall panels, painting, installing floor coverings and fire sprinklers, and some electrical work.

The synthetic plaster will create much of the visible exterior. Its application “is a tedious process,” Construction Process Manager Larry Fukanaga said, “because you have to trowel the right amount onto the… foam panels” or other surfaces. “It’s really durable stuff,” he added. “The color is mixed in with the material” by incorporating colorant in the final coat or applying a paint that integrates itself with the plaster. Either way, said Fukanaga, it minimizes any need to paint or repaint.

The press hall is the structure’s most complete part — readied for the arrival earlier this month of the first units of two MAN Roland Regioman presses valued at $30.8 million. Shipped to a harbor only two miles away, those one-around doublewide units are in, and technicians continue work on MAN’s Aurosys paper-handling equipment, while BEK Systems puts in the ink-supply system.

A few issues had yet to be resolved, but “for the most part,” Black said, “we’re in pretty good shape.” Those issues were the subject of a meeting last week that included representatives from Gannett corporate, the architects, and others. Black said there seemed nothing that couldn’t be fixed by those now working on the project, though who will pay for any extra or remedial work had not been determined.

But Black said there are no serious cost overruns for the $29.5-million plant, and Fukanga agreed, saying work on the press hall’s window wall will meet the scheduled Dec. 18 completion date. An engineer was retained late last month to consult on certain outstanding issues related to the window wall system: its weatherproofing, amount of thermal expansion and contraction, ability to withstand some deflection of underlying steel framing, and compatibility of the glass panels and cladding. Fukanaga said weatherproofing issues relate only to the cladding around the aluminum mullions; the glass panels and the mullions themselves are sound, he said.

When the work is complete, night pressroom operations will be visible from a distance. By the end of next summer, the Advertiser expects to run its entire circulation off its new pair of presses, which will be capable of printing color on every page of the paper (E&P, Dec. 17, 2001).

Partly in the hope of not repeating the misfortune that attended installation of the old presses, the first Regioman units were blessed with holy water and tea leaves in what was described as a traditional Hawaiian ceremony. Forty years ago, a rigger died in a fall. Reporter Dan Nakaso quoted Publisher Michael J. Fisch, remarking, “Most people don’t know about that. I’m not leaving anything to chance.”

After the 10 months it will take to extract the existing Hoe and Goss presses in 2005, the downtown News Building will have more space for its planned renovation, according to Nakaso’s story in the Advertiser.

About a week before the first new press units arrived, Michael Ohlmann joined the 142,025-circulation paper to manage its Kapolei pressroom, armed with the experience of starting up two Regioman presses as pressroom manager for the Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel.

Earlier in his career, Ohlmann spent 20 years at Denver’s Rocky Mountain News, where his last assignment was assisting the vice president of human resources in negotiating contracts with seven bargaining units. Before then, he was a lead operator on flexo and Goss offset presses. Ohlmann began as a pressroom apprentice in 1970 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Ohlmann reports directly to Black, as well as to Production Manager Terry Derby Sr.; Wendell Weatherwax and Terry Derby Jr. continue to manage the current letterpress and Goss Urbanite offset operations.

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