Georgia-Pacific Corp. of Atlanta said Wednesday that it will invest up to $70 million to upgrade its plywood and lumber operations in Gurdon (Clark County), where it employs 700 people.
The company, which announced in June plans to close its bleached board plant in Crossett (Ashley County) this year, said upgrades in Gurdon will improve overall operating efficiencies. Work began earlier this summer and will be completed next year.
"We are making state of the art improvements that will transform our Gurdon facilities, greatly improving the utilization of raw materials and overall operating efficiencies, making jobs more meaningful, and turning us into an even stronger competitor," Mike White, the company's western regional operations manager, said in a news release.
Capital improvements at the plant include:
- Installation of an advanced merchandiser that the company said determines best end-product use.
- New panel assembly stations with "state-of-the-art scanning systems."
- An upgraded power plant.
- Software and security enhancements.
Georgia-Pacific said that, including the latest investments at Gurdon, the company has put more than $645 million in its Arkansas operations over the past five years.
The company also said it is giving $100,000 over five years to Gurdon and Clark County schools to help install a multi-use playing field for the high school, middle and elementary schools and community events.
Built in the late 1970s, the Gurdon mill was one of five International Paper of Memphis sold to Georgia-Pacific in 2006. In 2013, Georgia-Pacific announced plans to invest $37 million in the plant, expanding production capacity of the mill by about 60 percent. Improvements included a new continuous dry kiln and a planer mill.