Tyson Foods Unveils $40 Million Center

Tyson Foods Inc. on Thursday unveiled plans for its new 184,000-SF Discovery Center.

Gov. Mike Huckabee joined Tyson officials, along with members of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, for the announcement of the $40 million center.

The 16-acre site will be located north of the two existing towers at Tyson's world headquarters in Springdale and will house 220 employees.

Greg Lee, Tyson Foods Chief Administrative Officer, said plans for the center include a consumer focus group area, a proprietary sensory testing lab and facilities for development testing, shelf life and packaging studies. It will have 20 product development kitchens.

For the first time, a USDA-inspected pilot plant will be located on the main Tyson campus. Tyson's pilot processing plant is now on Ford Avenue in Springdale.

"It allows us to take test products and put them in a simulated manufacturing environment," Tyson spokesman Ed Nicholson said in a February 2004 interview with NWABJ. "It's one thing to develop those products and another to see how we can run them in our plants."

The new center will also join for the first time Tyson's research and development team, corporate management training staff and the company's corporate marketing group.

The research and development department and corporate marketing are currently housed on the Tyson campus, but management development is split between the corporate headquarters and the Tyson Leadership College in Russellville. All those departments will be housed in the Discovery Center.

The project is expected to be complete in late 2005.

Shares of Tyson (NYSE: TSN) were trading at $18.06 on Thursday after closing at $18.05 on Wednesday.