By AMBER SOUTH
SHIPPENSBURG – A $100 million plan to move the headquarters of Volvo Construction Equipment of the Americas to Shippensburg will move forward with construction of a demonstration and training center on Rowe Road.
The 53,200 square-foot facility will sit on an 80-acre lot a short distance away from the Volvo factory on Volvo Way, near Shippensburg Area Senior High School.
Southampton Township, Franklin County supervisors approved a land development plan in late January, Supervisor Sam Cressler said.
Officials have yet to develop a schedule for milestones in the project, but completion is expected in April 2014, said Meg Dameron, communications manager for Volvo operations in the Americas.
The completed building will consist of classrooms and meeting rooms for customer visits, dealer training and special events. Outdoor space will include demonstration areas where potential customers will be able to test machinery.
The opening of the center in Shippensburg will mean the closing of Volvo’s American headquarters in Asheville, N.C. The relocation will not bring new jobs; the few employees directly responsible for the demonstration and training center will relocate upon the closure of the Asheville facility, Dameron said.
About 10,000 people visit the North Carolina facility each year. That rate is expected to remain the same in Shippensburg once the facility is up and running, and could mean increased business for the local hospitality industry.
Volvo chose the Rowe Road site because of its proximity to the Shippensburg facilities. The location will allow Volvo to provide customers a more comprehensive experience including factory tours, machinery demonstrations, training opportunities and visits to a museum area that will include information and displays regarding the company’s work and its history, Dameron said.
“If we have a customer come in we’d like to be able to make it an experience for them,” she said.
Shippensburg will serve as headquarters for operations in North and South America. Volvo announced plans in March 2011 for a $100 million expansion to include the demonstration and training center, an office building to house a regional sales headquarters and offices for rental division Volvo Rents.
Work on the first phase began in May with construction starting on the headquarters office. The building should be ready to open in March, Dameron said.
Volvo took over the Shippensburg plant and another facility in the Cumberland Valley Business Park as part of the $1.3 billion purchase of Ingersoll-Rand’s road construction division in 2007.
Since then, the Shippensburg plant has seen a $30 million expansion that opened in 2010 after the company brought in production lines from Goderich, Ontario.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 262-4771