Posted by Heidi Schwartz
Georgia-Pacific announced plans to invest $37 million at its Gurdon, AR, lumber operations to expand the production capacity of the lumber mill by approximately 60 percent. Improvements at the lumber mill include the installation of a new continuous dry kiln and a state-of-the-art planer mill, along with related infrastructure improvements. Project completion is expected by the third quarter of 2015.
“As the housing market continues a slow, but steady improvement, our plans to invest at Gurdon ensure our ability to meet the growing needs of our customers and become their lumber supplier of choice,” said Fritz Mason, vice president and general manager for Georgia-Pacific’s lumber business. “This is an opportunity to broaden our product offerings, enhance quality and improve our cost competitiveness.”
The company is also evaluating additional investments totaling approximately $20 million at the nearby Gurdon plywood mill that would increase the mill’s efficiency and capacity, as well as further reduce air emissions.
“The Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance is pleased to provide local support through the Clark County economic development sales tax to help Georgia-Pacific complete this expansion,” said Eric Hughes, chairman of the Alliance. “Georgia-Pacific has been a great corporate citizen in Gurdon for many years, providing hundreds of jobs in Clark County.”
“This is exciting news for our community and state,” said Stephen Bell, president and CEO of the Alliance. “We have been working alongside Mayor Clayton Franklin and other community leaders to upgrade the sewer treatment plant and increase the treatment plant’s capacity at the City of Gurdon—a key element to Georgia-Pacific’s expansion effort.”
“This as a win-win for the citizens of Gurdon and Georgia-Pacific,” added Clark County Judge Ron Daniell. “These upgrades will not only support Georgia-Pacific’s expansion, but will help us in our effort to recruit more industry to our region.”
“Georgia-Pacific is among the top three largest manufacturing employers in Arkansas,” said Grant Tennille, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “This significant expansion investment in Gurdon confirms Georgia-Pacific’s commitment to doing business in Arkansas and is a testament to the company’s confidence in the local workforce.”
Georgia-Pacific has eight facilities in Arkansas, five of which are part of the building products division. The company employs approximately 2,700 people directly in the state of Arkansas, with more than 665 people located at the Gurdon lumber and plywood operations.
Since 2006, Georgia-Pacific building products has invested nearly $2.5 billion in capital for property and equipment upgrades and acquisitions, including the 2007 purchase of several International Paper building products assets, the 2010 Grant Forest Products acquisition, and most recently, the $710 million acquisition of the former Temple-Inland Building Products assets.