Morning Sun
  • TOP 10 OF 2012: Pittsburg businesses announce expansions

  • Pittsburg manufacturers experienced a lot of growth in 2012. At least eight of the city’s top employers have grown or improved in some capacity, a figure officials say points to a brighter future. “It’s obviously a good sign,” said Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce president Bl...
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  • Pittsburg manufacturers experienced a lot of growth in 2012. At least eight of the city’s top employers have grown or improved in some capacity, a figure officials say points to a brighter future.
    “It’s obviously a good sign,” said Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce president Blake Benson. “The fact that the business owners are confident enough in their businesses and confident in the economy, and that they’re making those investments, sends a great signal about the future.”
    Masonite, an exterior door and glass insert company, announced Friday that it would be expanding its Pittsburg facilities. The company said the expansion should increase the number of people it currently employs in Pittsburg from 135 to around 200.
    It is the second investment Masonite has made in its Pittsburg facilities in the past several years. In 2008, Masonite moved its glass insert line from Toronto, Canada, to Pittsburg, and by 2011 the company had made purchases from the city of Pittsburg, expanding its total square footage to 310,000.
    Jake’s Fireworks
    After two years of negotiations, the Pittsburg-based fireworks manufacturer agreed in July to purchase the former Superior Industries building in Pittsburg’s northeast industrial park. The deal was closed in August.
    As part of the attempts to secure the building, Jake’s agreed to make a number of improvements to the 500,000-square foot building so it can store Class C (consumer) fireworks.
    The improvements include new draft curtains, new fire coatings for columns that can withstand fire for up to two hours, an updated sprinkler system, a new sprinkler system, and smoke/heat vents throughout the building. The city is also pitched in with a $700,000 loan that will be forgiven if the company adds five jobs each year for the first three years while retaining the company’s current 82 jobs.
    Via Christi Hospital
    One of Pittsburg’s biggest employers, the hospital has undergone many updates over the past year.
    In April, the hospital opened its completely renovated third floor women’s center to rave reviews. The $8 million center features two new labor and delivery rooms, bringing the total to five; two triage rooms, which are used to diagnose patients and which the previous center did not have; a designated waiting area; enhanced central fetal monitoring; and 13 postpartum/gynecological rooms with a spa-type feel, Cesarean section rooms and a nursery.
    The hospital also recently began construction of a new $20 million Surgery Center, the largest project of its kind since the hospital was built in 1971.
    The expansion of the southeast side of the hospital is estimated to be close to 40,000 square feet, and will be adjacent to the hospital and connected to the main building.
    The new Surgery Center will feature operating, endoscopy, pre- and post-operating, and all private recovery rooms. It is hoped that the Surgery Center will attract an additional 20 surgeons, physicians and other specialists to the hospital over the next three years. The project is scheduled for completion in December of 2013.
    Page 2 of 2 - CHC-SEK
    The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas’ new $5.3 million expansion is a huge boon to an organization that already reaches more than 25,000 patients. The center broke ground in August.
    The current location at 3011 N. Michigan is just 15,000 square feet and is so full that staff members have turned closets and bathrooms into offices.
    The line for the waiting room bathroom is always crowded, too. The current facility includes a pharmacy, overcrowded exam rooms, mental health facilities, and more. The new expansion will nearly triple the number of exam rooms, allow CHC-SEK to expand into eye and dental care, and simply be able to fit the incredible demand.
    Atkinson Industries
    Atkinson Industries has been a part of Pittsburg for more than 90 years. In March the company announced that it had secured a contract that could potential double its workforce. The company, which produces modular, plug-and-play metal buildings called Factory Fabricated Modular Enclosures, had already hired an addition 17 people by that time.
    The company announced it will be looking for welders, electricians, sales staff, engineers, managers, painters and more.
    Pitsco, a longtime manufacturer of educational products, was named the winner of the 2012 Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award in June. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback traveled to Pittsburg in September to tour the company’s facilities and present the award.
    The award is one of the state’s top two awards presented annually by the Kansas Department of Commerce. Pitsco has experienced a 71 percent increase in export sales since the company started expanding into those markets in 2008.
    Among the company’s educational products, the TETRIX® Building System recently has gained a strong footing in the United States and internationally.
    Pitsco products are exported to more than 50 countries and account for more than seven percent of the company’s sales.
    Pitsco has introduced more than 20 new products in the past three years.
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