Business: Fairfield Inn adjoining tennis center gets closer by the day; some hiring under way. Chattanooga paper to end daily print edition in June 2022, switch to digital; Sunday paper will remain.

Business: Fairfield Inn adjoining tennis center gets closer by the day; some hiring under way. Chattanooga paper to end daily print edition in June 2022, switch to digital; Sunday paper will remain.

Work continued Friday at the Fairfield Inn & Suites adjacent to the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. Hometown photos.


The potential for the Fairfield Inn & Suites rising off the Armuchee Connector was evident Friday afternoon.

Despite pandemic conditions, more than 200 players were at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College for the  USTA Southern Junior Ozaki Cup. On hand were students from ages 12 to 18 representing Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, according to the post on the tennis center Facebook page.

The parking lot at the tennis center was full; guests were using the gravel lot over the berm just below the entrance for relief parking.

It is traffic like this  that showcases the potential for the 80-room hotel that will offer great views of what’s happening on the courts. The latest estimate is for the hotel to open in November. And while no plans have been announced, there’s room for an adjoining restaurant as well.

Last week, crews continued working outside and inside the $12 million, three-story building. The parking lot in front of the main entranace was coming together at midday. Once open, the hotel will create more jobs for Berry students as well as others. Some opportunities already are posted.

From the newspaper’s website: The publisher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press is coverting all but Sunday editions to digital format by June 2022. In a story posted Saturday, the Times Free Press reported its owners had “bought thousands of Apple iPads to give to subscribers. Delivery of a physical newspaper will cease by mid-2022 with the exception of the Sunday edition.

“Starting Monday, the newspaper will begin converting daily print subscribers to a replica of the daily newspaper available on the tablet. The replica — which looks exactly like the print paper but has some additional features and functionality — will be available every day, usually by 4 a.m. The print edition will also be delivered on Sundays.

The digital conversion is necessary for the newspaper to remain profitable and continue to serve the Chattanooga area with quality local journalism, said Walter E. Hussman Jr., publisher of the Times Free Press and chairman of WEHCO Media Inc.

WEHCO Media is the parent company of the Times Free Press plus 10 other daily newspapers, as well as weekly newspapers and companies that offer cable and broadband.

“If we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t be able to continue to publish the kind of paper we publish in Chattanooga,” Hussman said. “We wouldn’t be able to cover as many meetings. We wouldn’t be able to serve as the watchdog function we serve as a vital journalistic Fourth Estate institution. For us to do this, we can keep our newsroom basically intact. It’s the way for us to maintain good, quality journalism and fulfill our function.”

Hussman said he chose to cut the cost of printing and distributing the paper rather than reducing the size of the news staff or the number of pages in the paper.

“We really thought about it and we thought, you know, wouldn’t it be a lot better if we could give people the exact same news product and advertising product in the exact same format, but do it digitally, instead of in print?” he said. “If we did, we could eliminate a lot of production costs, a lot of distribution costs and a lot of newsprint expenses.”

Subscribers who agree to pay the minimum rate of $34 a month will receive a new Apple iPad so they can read the digital replica of the newspaper served via an app that readers can download on the iPads. The app also is available for smartphones.

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