By ELAINE WILLIAMS of the Tribune
The region’s largest private employer is about to get even bigger.
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories announced Friday it will more than double the size of its Lewiston plant in a project that breaks ground in November.
At 140,000 square feet, the addition will have 31,000 more square feet than the first phase of the Lewiston factory, which was completed in January.
The expansion will give the company room for more than 750 employees in Lewiston, with positions being added on an unspecified time frame, said Tammy Lewis, a spokeswoman for SEL in Pullman. There are currently 150 employees at the Lewiston facility.
The new space will be connected to the Lewiston facility, which is located on 25 acres at 2821 Juniper Drive in the Port of Lewiston’s Business and Technology Park. The site is near the shopping center that houses Safeway and Home Depot.
“We are extremely excited to begin the expansion of the Lewiston facility ahead of schedule,” said Jana Schultheis, SEL property manager. “Our initial plans were to begin Phase II in 2014, but the demand for SEL products worldwide has bumped up our timeline.”
The maker of high-tech equipment for controlling power systems was founded in Pullman, where its headquarters employ more than 1,900 in areas such as manufacturing, administration and research and development.
Everything that SEL makes in Pullman is manufactured in Lewiston. Originally SEL sold its products to electrical utilities, but that market base has broadened to include other industries that depend on having consistent sources of power. Among its customers are mines and pulp and paper factories.
SEL’s plans fulfill the vision the port had for the park when it was developed, said Port of Lewiston Manager David Doeringsfeld.
“This is wonderful news,” he said. “SEL has proven to be a great employer, providing family wage jobs. We appreciate their continued investment in the community.”
Williams may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2261.