BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO)-- As the sun was coming up in Bowling Green Monday morning, so was the first steel beam for what will eventually become a state-of-the-art paint shop at the Corvette plant.
"It's a super exciting day because today marks the event, we're putting in the first piece of steel. There will be about 11,000 pieces all together, about 4,200 tons of steel over the course of about the next 6 months," said Plant Manager, Kai Spande.
Construction say the beams are each about 55 feet tall, and weigh over 6,000 pounds. They were hoping to have around 55 up by the end of Monday.
But before the construction continued, officials involved in the project took some time out to document the occasion.
"We actually took the time to sign the first beam, the GM team that is associated with the project here at the plant. And that's neat, because that's something that will last forever. Actually we'll clear coat it, we've got a few people that know how to do that kind of thing and it will last for a long time," Spande told WBKO.
Construction on the site began over the summer, with engineering beginning in early spring 2015. It is set to be complete in spring of 2017, and will be a major advancement for the Bowling Green plant.
"We're going to be making Corvettes here for a long time. This is almost half of a billion dollar investment . When you include the announcement that we just had last week, where we're adding to our power-train capability also, it's huge. And with that investment, we have ongoing sustainable operations for the Bowling Green Assembly Plant," Spande added.
The addition of the paint shop will include energy-saving technology and will nearly double the size of the existing plant. It will also include new tooling and robots, as well as environmental enhancements to decrease sludge water produced. It will also house a high-efficiency baking oven to lower energy use.