November 12, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Everything is proceeding on schedule for the planned Dec. 5 opening of the new Safeway store at 2111 Adams Avenue, store manager Gordon Royal said Monday.

A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremonies are planned for 8 a.m. Dec. 5 at the new location on the corner of Adams and Willow Street.

Well close the present store at 6 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 4) and open the new one the next day at 8 a.m., said Royal.

Things are right on schedule, and the store is beautiful inside, he said.

He spent most of Monday at the new site cleaning the interior and getting things ready for the transfer of items beginning late this month from the present store at Fourth and Adams.

Royal said he had hired 60 new people for the new store, which at 55,000 square feet will be more than twice the size of the present one.

Most of them are in training now. There will be a few new clerks, new people in the bakery and in the deli, people to run the new Starbucks station and the gas pumps, Royal said.

The new hires include 13 people who will operate the gasoline pumps near the corner of Adams and Box Elder Street.

There will be five double-sided pumps under a large canopy, he said. The entire outside area, including more than 400 parking spaces, will be more than adequately lighted, Royal said. Landscaping includes a large number of trees throughout the parking lot and along Adams Avenue.

To handle the expected influx of additional customers, there will be 11 cash registers in the new store compared to seven at the Fourth Street site. People will also be able to pay for items at the pharmacy, floral, Starbucks, deli and customer service areas, he said.

The ribbon-cutting ceremonies will mark 71 years of service by Safeway in La Grande. Invited guests include La Grande Mayor Colleen Johnson, City Manager Wes Hare and members of the city council and Union County Chamber of Commerce President Tom Frazier and Executive Director Judy Loudermilk.