PHOTOS BY LINDSEY HECKEL, LAW WEEK COLORADO
By Don Knox, LAW WEEK COLORADO
Some journalists might be shocked at how little time it took for the former newsroom of the Rocky Mountain News to be transformed into the headquarters offices of a state agency: 120 days.
Just two months after the Rocky closed on Feb. 28, the Colorado Judicial Department had signed an agreement leasing all 42,000 square feet of the fifth-floor newsroom in the Denver Newspaper Agency building at 101 W. Colfax Ave. And just two months after that, more than 200 state employees moved in.
On Wednesday, a Law Week Colorado photographer and editor got the first media tour since the big move.
We found the space familiar, but not in any way frenetic, as it once could be.
A slideshow is published here, along with captions describing the locations and alterations, if any.
Gone are the low workspaces, the scrubbed steel wall treatments, the window sightlines and the plasma televisions of the former Rocky newsroom.
Retained is much of the furniture, including desks, chairs, filing cabinets and even the large moving photo cabinets in the former newsroom library. The Judicial Department also has kept intact the Rocky’s “collaboration spaces” including large and small conference rooms, break areas and exterior balconies with sweeping views of Denver’s Civic Center park.
Most of the ex-Rocky journalists would immediately remember their former digs. But they’d probably lament some of the alterations.
* The wide-open space that once housed the City Desk has been partitioned with walls and private offices. Visitors to the reception area can no longer see through to the office and the wall of “view” windows beyond.
* The walls of all cubicles have been elevated, albeit with glass treatments that create more privacy while allowing some sun to stream through.
* The distinctive wall graphics in the front lobby have been removed. Plain painted blue walls replace them.
* No longer is there a bust of E.W. Scripps, the founder of the company that owned the newspaper since the mid-1920s until its closure.
* Rocky- and Colorado-related names for conference room spaces have been removed.
A good deal for the state
For the Judicial Department, which oversees more than 5,000 employees who manage Colorado’s state and county trial courts as well as its probation officers, the availability of the Rocky space came at perfect time. And it didn’t hesitate.
The court system had two large leases. One was on the third floor of a building at 1301 Pennsylvania St. that’s owned by Colorado’s statewide retirement plan. A second, for information technology employees, was in the Denver West Office Park in Golden.
But both leases were set to expire on June 30. And a move was required because the lease at Pennsylvania Street was no longer available because of the retirement agency’s growth, said Judicial Department spokesman Rob McCallum.
Before the Rocky’s closure, the department had been expected to move into another building at 1301 Logan St., directly behind its previous home. But the large, modern space that was vacated by the Rocky and its proximity to the Capitol and to Colorado’s existing Supreme Court building made it the leading choice.
Also beneficial was the per-square-foot price, which at $20.50 was well below the downtown average. With a new tax rebate in place for government agencies, enacted last year, the department estimates it will pay just $16.50 per square foot.
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters