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Better Built Snares Two Projects from Army Corp

Better Built Construction, based in Middletown, OH, has garnered two major defense contracts in the past four months.

Better Built topped seven other construction firms last month to land a $9.1-million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers award to build a training support center at Ft. Campbell, KY.

The Middletown-based firm also recently was tapped by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for one of the last major Wright-Patterson Air Force Base construction contracts. It won an $11.6-million contract to design and build a dormitory for students attending the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, relocating to the area in 2011.

According to Joe Munger, Better Built’s director of operations, the Wright-Patterson project will add more than 100 new construction jobs to the area economy. The company has about 18 full-time employees and more than $30 million in government contracts. The 52,000-square-foot, three-story building will be located on base in the Kittyhawk Center, which houses many on-base amenities, across from the old theater on Broad Street in downtown Fairborn, a Dayton suburb.

Construction will start this summer, Munger said.

The 96-room dorm will service the 711th Human Performance Wing, housed in a 680,000-square-foot, $194.5-million complex, and will be home to about 200 airmen fresh from basic training, arriving for the aerospace medicine school. Occupancy is set for June 2010.

To date, $226 million in construction funds have been awarded as the base prepares to receive about 1,200 people as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Process, the largest flurry of projects since World War II.

The government soon will award the final construction award: a 140,000-square-foot, $40-million project at the Air Force Research Laboratory sensors complex.

Ford to Build “Cleaner” Engine in Cleveland

The first Ford Motor Co. plant to make a new line of fuel-efficient engines will be located in an existing facility in suburban Cleveland that has been closed since 2007.

The Cleveland plant was chosen to make the 3.5-liter, V-6 EcoBoost engines that will be standard on the Ford Taurus SHO and optional on the Lincoln MKS and MKT, and Ford Flex cars. EcoBoost engines combine direct injection technology and turbo-charging for improved fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. The EcoBoost engines can achieve up to 20% better fuel and 15% lower CO2 emissions, compared with larger displacement engines, without sacrificing power.

The new EcoBoost engine will get an estimated 25 to 26 miles per gallon on the highway and 18 to 20 miles per gallon in city driving, Ford said. Ford invested $55 million in tooling and equipment upgrades at the Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 to prepare for the EcoBoost engine. The program is designed to be a first step toward using the technology in four-cylinder engines, and it is not expected to affect ongoing V6 engine production in Lima, OH.

During production, each engine built at the Cleveland plant will have an internal database contained on a microchip that will track every stage of production and ensure quality.

Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1, which was Ford’s first engine plant in Ohio when it opened in 1951, had more than 500 employees when it was shut down in May 2007. It was retooled to make 3.5-liter engines, but the company decided that this production capacity wasn’t needed.

Dearborn, MI-based Ford said it initially will use about 250 workers from another engine plant and a casting plant at the Cleveland-area site. To prepare for the EcoBoost engine, the workforce is undergoing an intensive quality-training program. The plant is working with Cuyahoga Community College, which is providing four weeks of advanced manufacturing training.

The site announcement for the new engine is a major boost for Ohio, a state with a large automotive sector, and one, which has been hit hard by layoffs. Ohio’s unemployment rate was 8.8 percent in January, up from the revised rate of 7.4 in December and the highest level in more than 20 years.

Matandy Opens $2.2-Million Plant in Hamilton

Matandy Steel is preparing to open a new 35,000-square-foot steel manufacturing facility on the site of the former Hamilton Die Cast property in Hamilton, OH.

Matandy has invested about $2.2 million to build the manufacturing facility for the company’s new business venture under the name J.N. Linrose Mfg.

The facility initially will employ about 15 workers at $10 to $15 an hour. They will build steel beams used in commercial building construction.

The deal for the new plant was put together when the city sold the 5.6-acre property to Matandy at the original buying price of $87,300, according to Tim Bigler, the city’s economic development director. The deal included $750,000 in grant money from the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund to demolish the former building and clean up the site.

Through property tax payments over a 30-year period, the city will get reimbursed on project costs and the school district will be paid its share of the tax revenue. Anything left over will by used by Matandy to offset its building costs, Bigler said.

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