Construction of new GM paint shop takes important step forward - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Construction of new GM paint shop takes important step forward

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  • Businesses receive boost thanks to new GM paint shop

    Businesses receive boost thanks to new GM paint shop

    Monday, June 16 2014 6:19 PM EDT2014-06-16 22:19:13 GMT
    The first steel beams went into the ground at General Motors' new paint shop at the Flint Assembly plant Monday morning - and along with that activity came the arrival of dozens of new faces.
    The first steel beams went into the ground at General Motors' new paint shop at the Flint Assembly plant Monday morning - and along with that activity came the arrival of dozens of new faces.
FLINT (WJRT) - (06/16/14) - Most of the ground work has been laid, and now the construction of a GM paint shop in Flint is taking a big step forward.

The paint shop they're building will be massive. It will cover 600,000 square feet. To put it in perspective, that's about the same as 11 football fields.

"It's pretty exciting. There aren't many projects of this magnitude in General Motors and actually when you think about it, there aren't many people who get a chance to run a job of this size, this dollar value. I'm very excited to be part of the program here," said Kathleen Nicholson, GM Global Facilities project manager.

The first of 12,000 steel beams were set in place, Monday.

"130,000 bolts will be what we're using to hold the steel together. These are structural bolts, not like you might have at your local Home Depot," Nicholson said. 

"The excitement of hanging the first piece of steel is big for us," said Barry Campbell, UAW Local 598 shop chairman.

The paint shop is being built on the site of the former V-8 engine plant on Van Slyke Road. It's part of a $600 million upgrade to the truck plant, the biggest GM investment in Flint in more than a decade.

"It will change the way we paint vehicles today. We'll have an opportunity to increase line speed and it will create jobs here," Campbell said.

The UAW has been pressing GM for a new paint shop.

"It's huge for us. We've been trying to get a paint shop for over a decade and we need it," Campbell said.

The old one had been a bottleneck to production, slowing the rollout of trucks out the door.

Construction workers hope to have the steel structure enclosed by October. The construction jobs will be a nice boost to the Flint area economy.

"We've got over 100 people on the site right now and at the peak of the project, we'll have over 500 people on the site," Nicholson said.

"It's going to have a great impact on the community, local businesses, eateries, gas stations," said Tom Wickham, GM communications.

Workers will be fast-tracking the steel construction so the site is ready for winter.

"We want to try to get the building enclosed before it gets cold this winter. We're looking at starting the enclosure in October," Nicholson said.

The paint shop will be state of the art when the first pickups roll through it late in 2016. GM says the new paint shop will lead to better looking trucks with better resistance to corrosion.

"It means you're going to see a lot better quality on the paint on the vehicle," Nicholson said. "We have some new technology to put the paint on the vehicles, so there might be some new opportunities for new colors."

The biggest crane on the site stands 260 feet tall, which is taller than the Mott Foundation Building in Flint. You can see it for miles.
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