LIMA — Five hundred thousand feet of data cable. Four hundred thousand pounds of steel. Two thousand pounds of asphalt. And 1,200 gallons of paint.
That was just some of the construction list listed as employees at Potash Corp. cut the ribbon on a new $25 million office complex Thursday, touting a building that keeps employees safe and gets them excited to come to work every day.
Project manager Les Kohli had fun ticking off the list but then added the icing on the cake: Construction began in 2009, and the contractors had 182,000 hours, the entire project, without any lost time from an injury. It’s an obvious source of pride for a plant that hasn’t had a work-related injury for 13 years.
Construction was approached with three objectives, Potash Corp. Lima General Manager Todd Sutton said: keeping employees safe; creating a space that improved collaboration and communication; and providing a face to the community, customers and suppliers.
“We could have easily put up a sterile, industrial looking building, but we wanted to create a nice place for our employees to work and something they could be proud of,” Kohli said. “One employee said the other day, ‘I like it here so much I don’t want to leave.’ That’s exactly what we wanted, a place people wanted to come to work.”
General contractor H.A. Dorsten, in Minster, has already won statewide awards for the construction and is in the running for a national award, Kohli said. Nearly 70 percent of the construction work was done by Ohio firms, and Potash used regional firms whenever possible to help invest in the local economy, Kohli said. Businesses in Elida, Lima, New Bremen, Sidney and Wapakoneta contributed to the building.
The building brings eight separate facilities under one roof and brings employees outside of the chemical plant. The building includes offices, warehousing and maintenance. It also includes employee lunchroom space, outside picnic tables, an exercise center and landscaping that attracts wildlife.
“I said to Todd, ‘We’re a fertilizer company. We probably should have the best-looking yard in Lima,’” Kohli said.
Potash is on a roll. Employees moved into the new building in November of 2012. Earlier this year, the company was selected as a top employer in the state.
Potash, a Canadian company, produces primarily agricultural fertilizer in Lima. The company purchased the facility in 1997 and took over operations at the Fort Amanda plant in 2008.