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Dude, North Carolina’s Getting a New Dell Plant

Fri March 11, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Jeff Cronin



Ron Coley is about ready to wrap up site preparation work at the future location of a Dell Inc. assembly plant.

Coley and the rest of the crew from Blythe Development in Charlotte, NC, have installed stormwater and sanitary sewer pipes and graded the 189-acre site in Winston-Salem, NC.

Dell, one of the computer industry’s giants, chose this site, located on the outskirts of town in Forsyth County, following a fierce bidding war that pitted Winston-Salem against Greensboro and High Point.

Winston-Salem added $37 million in incentives, including cash, services and land, to a $242-million package already being offered by the state. North Carolina’s offer includes tax credits, cash and training grants.

The cities wooed Dell, based in Round Rock, TX, because of the jobs it is expected to produce — 1,500 within five years.

At the peak of site prep work, Blythe employees were on-site 24 hours a day working 11.5-hour shifts, Coley said.

“If we hadn’t worked two shifts, the ground would have frozen,” he said.

During that busy period, approximately 45 workers were split between the two shifts. Now, Coley said, 20 men are working one shift for five days a week.

Caterpillar equipment dominates the work site, including eight 621 scrapers, a pair each of D8 and D6 dozers and two 815 compactors. In addition, a Rex roller also was used for the project.

Blythe workers installed approximately 6,000 ft. (1,800 m) of storm drains and 1,800 ft. (550 m) of sanitary sewers in addition to moving more than 300,000 cu. yds. (230,000 cu m) of dirt.

Aside from the low temperatures, Coley said it did not face any serious challenges during the $16-million project, a price tag that includes prep work and design services.

City, county and state officials joined Dell executives at a ground-breaking ceremony Feb. 23 for the 527,000-sq.-ft. (49,000 sq m) facility, in which Dell workers will produce the company’s OptiPlex and Dimension desktop computers.

“Dell has an aggressive timetable to begin production at this facility and we appreciate the support and professionalism the community and our partners have brought to this project,” said Ro Parra, senior vice president of Dell Americas. “This new factory is critical to meeting the needs of the increasing number of Dell customers who live in the eastern United States.”

Construction of the plant, which will become Dell’s largest, is expected to be complete in the fall.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.) CEG