Owen-Illinois: new bottle plant goes to Windsor, Colorado

Months of speculation came to an end on 16 September 2003 when official of Owens-Illinois announced plans to build a 500,000-square-foot bottle plant in Windsor, Colorado.
One hundred and fifty new j…

Months of speculation came to an end on 16 September 2003 when official of Owens-Illinois announced plans to build a 500,000-square-foot bottle plant in Windsor, Colorado. One hundred and fifty new jobs will be created at the plant, 120 of which will be in manufacturing and will pay USD 40,000 a year or more, Owens-Illinois officials said at a news conference. The plant, which will manufacture about 1 billion 12-ounce glass bottles a year for the Anheuser-Busch brewery north of nearby Fort Collins, will cost more than USD 120 million to design and build. Owens-Illinois evaluated potential site locations based on operational and logistical criteria including proximity to its customer base and accessibility to natural gas, power, highway, railroad and workforce. Kenneth W. Lovejoy, Owens-Illinois vice president and manager of facilities engineering, said the selection process took longer than expected as company officials examined about 16 sites in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming before reducing the list to just two: Windsor, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Even then, he said, it was a difficult decision. “At the end of each day, we“d look at the number of sweet spots on the page for each one,” Lovejoy said. “It finally got down to just Windsor, and even then we had a technical problem for about a week to work out.” That problem was the water table in the area where the plant will be built. Company engineers had to find a way to prevent water from leaking into the building. The solution was to build a slurry wall around the lower level of the plant, Lovejoy said. Compared to other Owens-Illinois plants, this one will be a monster said Lovejoy, adding “We have nothing on the same scale as the Windsor plant.” Regional officials and the governor“s office were quick to show their appreciation of Owens-Illinois“ selection of Windsor. Windsor Town Administrator Rod Wensing said that while Windsor will benefit from the plant, so will the region because of the high-paying, primary-sector jobs. Colorado Governor Bill Owens, in a prepared statement, said: “We are pleased that Owens-Illinois will create 150 new jobs for Coloradoans. This new facility is a huge economic win for Northern Colorado.” Design-build work on the Windsor site has been in progress for several months, and Owens-Illinois has an “aggressive timeline” to open the plant in January 2005, Lovejoy said.