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Viracon reopening Statesboro plant
More than 300 employees going back to work
In this Herald file photo from 2007, a worker at the Viracon plant in Statesboro works with a piece of fabricated glass. The plant is scheduled to reopen next week. - photo by Herald File

    After shelving production for six months and furloughing more than 300 employees, Viracon is set to resume operations of its newly refurbished Statesboro manufacturing facility.
    The Minnesota-based company, America’s leading single-source architectural glass fabricator, announced Monday that the local plant will reopen next week, having completed a $6 million upgrade to the facility’s equipment and infrastructure.
    Employees will return to work, and production will resume Monday.
    “We are very pleased to welcome our Statesboro team back to work," Viracon President Kelly Schuller said in statement released by the company this week. “Our investments in the Statesboro facility strengthen our manufacturing environment and will enable our production teams to deliver the highest levels of customer service from our Statesboro factory. We are fortunate and thankful to have a loyal team of employees that are ready to return to work and make the most of these improvements for our customers.”
    The Statesboro facility shut down production this year to undergo a renovation that included 16 specific capital upgrades and provided maintenance to all major pieces of equipment.
    The building’s roof was replaced and the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system received updates to yield a more controlled environment, resulting in a cleaner facility, according to a company release.
    Also, approximately 90 skylights were installed to enhance natural lighting in specific areas of the factory and reduce energy usage during the day.
    “With the upgrade of the Statesboro facility, I think we’re going to discover a new level of success,” said Rick Farmer, the Statesboro plant manager. “Our enhancements will reduce downtime and deliver the quality products that our customers expect from Viracon.”
    The plant will begin putting back to work more than 300 of approximately 360 employees that were let go during a six-week period earlier this year.
    Employees will return in three phases, concluding in late September, Farmer said.
    “There is a lot of excitement about the opportunity to come back and work with the upgraded equipment,” he said. “We have had employees calling, and some have even stopped by to check on progress. I am looking forward to their return, and to demonstrate even further what this team can do.”
    An opening ceremony will be held in early October to kick off the new development cycle.
    The refurbishment is the second major upgrade to the factory since it opened in 1999. Viracon initially invested $27 million to build and open the Statesboro facility, located in the Gateway Industrial Park off U.S. Highway 301 South, and added 65,000 square feet to the plant in 2005.
    Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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