Faurecia isn’t the only company that has rethought the processes and engineering for the Columbus South manufacturing plant.
Bartholomew County REMC representatives were presented with a tight deadline to work toward providing the 10 megawatts of power the plant needs to begin operation.
Jim Turner, the utility’s CEO, said REMC was tasked with providing enough temporary power for construction, then ramping up to the 10 megawatts, enough to power a small city, by summer.
By July 1, the cooperative had the power ready, by upgrading the Woodside transmission site to handle the additional load for the Walesboro site.
Turner said Faurecia will be one of the cooperative’s five largest industrial accounts when the plant is in full operation, including NTN Driveshaft, Toyota Industrial Equipment, AK Tube and Rightway. Faurecia moves to the second highest on that list behind NTN with the new facility.
In addition to power needs, Faurecia was required to raise the building site by several feet using aggregate materials to comply with regulations about the Walesboro acreage being in a flood plain, said Dave DeGraaf, Faurecia’s North America Operations division president for Emissions Control Technologies.
The city of Columbus is continuing to work with state officials to have the flood plain maps and status changed to take the property out of flood plain status, but thus far have not been successful.
And the city has also approved $550,000 in upgrades for County Road 450S utilizing redevelopment funds and a $250,000 matching grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to improve intersections at both entrances and exits to the Faurecia plants, at Woodside Business Park and at State Road 58 and International Drive.
The improvements include adding turn lanes, traffic signals and safety improvements for the increased traffic expected with the opening of the new plant, city officials said. The city approved using up to $300,000 in tax increment financing money for the project, which allows the city to receive the matching grant from the state.
DeGraaf thanked Columbus, Bartholomew County and state government officials for their support, describing their efforts as outstanding.
Saying it was incredible how quickly local public officials rallied support to make the plant a reality, DeGraaf said that doesn’t happen without great cooperation and support.