JONESBORO — St. Bernards Healthcare has purchased a downtown landmark – the current offices of The Jonesboro Sun.
Publisher Reece B. Terry said it was a matter of making the best use of space.
“In April, we made the decision to move the printing of our Northeast Arkansas papers, The Sun, Paragould Daily Press, Newport Independent and Times Dispatch, to our facility in Paducah, Ky., Terry said in announcing the sale. “This allowed us to immediately accomplish several of our goals – improve the quality and appearance of our print products and add significantly more color pages.
“This move meant we were utilizing less than half the space in The Sun’s present location, so we decided to approach St. Bernards about the possibility of acquiring the property. Due to the proximity to St. Bernards, we felt this would be a natural fit and give them an opportunity to better utilize the property. We are delighted to place the Carson Street location in the hands of a great community partner.”
Mitchell Nail, spokesman for St. Bernards, said plans for the 518 Carson St. newspaper plan were under development, but he couldn’t disclose details on Friday.
“But we are prepping something that we feel will be significant for St. Bernards and for the community at large,” Nail said. “From our perspective, we will be wanting to keep the building … our plans are to restore it and make it a thriving part of downtown Jonesboro. It has cultural significance in downtown Jonesboro and with it being sandwiched right between our hospital and our auditorium, we feel it will be a good fit for our St. Bernards system.”
Both St. Bernards and The Sun have been downtown fixtures for more than 100 years.
“We want this to be favorable for both The Sun and for us, as well, and we think it’s a good partnership in terms of this acquisition” Nail said.
“The Sun is in the process of renovating office space on Stone Street that will be home to our news, advertising and circulation departments,” Terry said. “From this new location, we will continue covering news, sports and happenings in Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas just as we have for well over 100 years. The move to 1300 Stone St. is expected within the next 60 days to 90 days.”
Bob Troutt, a local Realtor, whose family owned The Sun until it was sold in 2000, said The Sun first moved what was then a modern printing press into a former armory at the Carson Street location in 1968, then began construction of offices in 1970, completing the move from the newspaper’s prior location at the corner of Washington Avenue and Church Street.
The building was expanded in 1990-91, adding an art gallery and a larger newsroom.
“There’s certainly a lot of history in that building,” Troutt said.