BELEN—After nearly 30 years, the Valencia County News-Bulletin is moving its office and staff — from its current location on Camino del Llano to the historic F&E building in Belen.
The move should be completed by the end of this week or early next week. The new address of the Valencia County News-Bulletin is 221 S. Main St., Suite B, Belen, N.M., 87002.
“We’re very excited to move into the F&E building,” said Clara Garcia, editor and publisher of the News-Bulletin. “The owners of the F&E building have done a wonderful job renovating the historic building, and we are looking forward to continue serving our readers and advertisers from our new location.”
Garcia said while the move to a much smaller space in downtown Belen will be a major change, it has some benefits for employees, including being walking distance to several government offices and a lot more natural light from the large windows facing Main Street.
“After decades in a building with few windows, our employees asked if our new location would have windows,” said Garcia of the new office space. “The windows in the newsroom are floor-to-ceiling, allowing for natural light and scenic views of Main Street.”
Darrell and Sheryl Green, who bought the 12,000-square foot, two-story F&E building in 2016, spent a year renovating the building, which was originally built as a department store in 1928 by German immigrants Paul Feil and William Ellermeyer. The News-Bulletin will share the building with Blue Star Insurance, which is owned by Sheryl Green.
“I’m excited about it,” said Darrell Green about the News-Bulletin moving into his building. “I think it’s a good fit. You guys are good folks.”
Green made major improvements to the historic building, including pulling up old carpet and restoring the original hardwood floors. He also replaced old ceiling tiles, damaged and vandalized walls, several broken windows and doors and put tile in the building where a lot of stucco was.
He also rebuilt the bathrooms, installed a fire monitoring system as well as a security system, along with putting in a new HVAC system, a new roof and electrical system. Green also got the elevator working again, and rebuilt the exterior hallway, installed lighting and a camera system.
What most people have noticed is how the Greens refurbished the exterior of the building with synthetic stucco and having a local artist recreate the murals that were on the old department store.
The News-Bulletin building on Camino del Llano has been sold to Dr. Florian Sanchez, DVM, owner and operator of Yucca Veterinary Medical Center, which is currently located on South Main Street in Belen.
“We’re super excited about remodeling and renovating the location to increase our services to people of Valencia County for small and large animals,” Sanchez said. “We’re excited to have this opportunity to move in a direction to offer more advanced medicine in the field of orthopedics and ultrasound care for small animals.”
Sanchez said with the new location, they will now be able to offer more intensive treatment for large animals. Currently, he is limited in what care he can offer larger animals, such as cattle, horses, sheep and goats, saying he goes to people’s property for minor care of their animals.
“We also plan on opening a boarding facility for people who are going on short to mid-term vacations,” the local veterinarian said. “It’s going to be high-end boarding, with large kennels, bigger runs and one-and-one time (spent with the animals).”
Sanchez anticipates the remodel of the building will take about two months to complete, and will then relocate the medical center.
The News-Bulletin has been operating at the Camino del Llano facility since January 1990, when then-owners Ken and Walt Green built the building, which including space for an offset press.
The News-Bulletin halted printing the local newspaper in 2009 at the facility when all printing operations relocated to the Albuquerque Journal.
Garcia said this is the sixth move in the newspaper’s 110-year history.
When Saturnino Baca started publishing El Hispano Americano in 1910, he did so from the garage of his home on the southeast corner at Main and Bernard streets in Belen, where he also ran a print shop. In 1912, he added an English-language companion newspaper, The Belen News.
In September 1932, Baca’s son, Elfego, purchased the Gilbert building a few blocks away at what is about 115 S. Main St. today, and relocated the newspaper and printing business there.
In 1946, the Bacas sold the operation to Edwin J. Lewis. The News remained on Main Street until early 1947 when it merged with the year-old Belen Bulletin to form the News-Bulletin. The newspapers’ operations were consolidated at the Bulletin’s office at 208 N. Second St. The print shop was relocated across the street at 201 N. Second St.
Later, publisher Carter Waid started up KARS Radio in the same building as the newspaper. Waid sold the newspaper in 1963, and in 1965 the owners moved into a newly-constructed building at Sixth and Baca streets.
Then in 1989, the facility on Camino del Llano was built, and the staff moved in in January 1990.
“It’s bitter sweet,” Garcia said of the move. “I’ve worked in this building for nearly 21 years and we’ve had a lot of good memories here. While many employees have come and gone, we’ve always remained a family. This place is like a second home to me, but at the same time, change is good.”
Once everything has been put in its place in the new office space, the News-Bulletin will hold an open house. Stay tuned.