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Construction continues at Baxter

An aerial shot taken on Dec. 11 shows the construction progress and large scale of the Baxter International facility in Covington. (Special photo)

An aerial shot taken on Dec. 11 shows the construction progress and large scale of the Baxter International facility in Covington. (Special photo)

COVINGTON – Construction continues in Stanton Springs as Baxter International builds a bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.

The next steps in the building project are paving the parking lot and closing in the buildings, according to Scot Thomas, director of engineering for the site.

“Major steel and concrete construction is ongoing, and we are beginning mechanical piping in key focus areas. Site utility work is ongoing, which includes water, electrical, gas and waste,” Thomas said.

“After closing in the buildings, we can then start the electrical and mechanical installation inside.”

Despite the recent cold weather, workers pressed through taking frequent breaks, he said.

“Work conditions are more challenging in the cold,” Thomas said. “We were unable to do some concrete and paving work during the cold spell, and welding projects took an extended period of time to complete. We stopped work in the field for one day to ensure employee safety.”

Once built, the facility will manufacture plasma-based therapies that treat chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The operation will also include warehouse and distribution facilities.

The Stanton Springs site will allow Baxter to build the 1-million-square-foot facility to its specifications and allow room for growth. Baxter has purchased about 160 acres in the more than 1,600-acre park.

The four-county park was developed by the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties and is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 278 and Interstate 20.

Baxter’s investment will total $1 billion and bring 1,500 new jobs, with the average salary at about $60,000.

Construction should be completed by 2015 or 2016. Commercial production is expected to start in 2018.

In addition to the manufacturing facility, a bio-tech training center will be built and operated by Georgia Quick Start on the site. The training center will provide customized training to meet the company’s start-up needs and will be available for other companies coming to or expanding in Georgia to train employees.