On Saturday afternoon, Rich and I visited the Skagit Publishing open house in Mount Vernon. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a press used to print newspapers.

The 125-year old company had recently located to a new $13 million, 59,0000-square-foot building, which was designed to house the newspaper, sales, advertising, and commercial printing staff along with an enormous press and associated equipment for cutting, sorting, and collating the four newspapers produced by the company. Below is a picture of Rich learning about the machine that inserts flyers, ads and other inserts into newspapers.  Rich learning about the collating machine

The printing press is over two stories high and must be the length of a football field. Giant rolls of newsprint are feed into the press, which prints in four colors — cyan, magenta, yellow, and black — then folds, cuts, collates, and stacks the sections of the newspaper.

While I’ve seen many presses that are used for producing brochures, business cards, posters, and other printed pieces, I’d never seen a press for newsprint. Because of their size and expense there are probably only a handful of such presses in a state or region. Julie and Rich at printer

Here’s a picture of Rich and I with the Skagit Publishing mascot. Notice my stunning Mickey Mouse overalls from Goodwill. Rich and I had earlier been doing yard work at our Mount Vernon house… actually, we usually dress the Mr. and Mrs. Bumpkin!

The flyer we got from Skagit Publishing lists these facts about the building:

  • Eleven miles of CAT-6 computer wire
  • Press foundation contains 56, 16-inch diameter cast concrete pilings up to 80 feet deep
  • 50,000 tons pre-load dirt
  • 1,700 cubic yards of concrete
  • 75 tons of reinforced steel
  • 616,000 pounds of structural steel and metal building components
  • 307,000 lineal feet of wire containing 38,000 pounds of copper
  • 33,500 lineal feet of conduit