MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - With the twist of a shovel, dirt was officially turned on Sierra Nevada's Aircraft Completion Center. "We're very pleased that Sierra Nevada, of all places in the country that they could have chosen, for that matter, the world... that they chose Meridianville, Madison County Alabama as the location for this expansion," says U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks.
The two phase expansion project will add 200 high paying jobs to Madison County. Company officials say some hiring has already begun, but a bulk of their new employees will be added later this year.
The Sierra Nevada Corporation is no stranger to the area. They have three other facilities in Madison County, but say their two phase expansion will be their biggest complex with the most employees. "We'll fly new aircraft in from an aircraft manufacturer," says Tim Owings, the Vice President of SNC's Integrated Mission Systems. "We would missionize that, and by that I mean we would put a different suite of capabilities, could be camera systems, could be radar systems."
All of that work will be based out of Madison County. SNC is also bidding for a government project called the "Future Fixed Wing Utility Aircraft Program", that if secured, would also be outfitted here in Madison County. "If you look at where we are today, compared to where I think we'll be in the next 2 to 3 years, this will be starting to really explode," says Owings.
The first 30,000 square foot facility is expected to be complete next spring, with construction on their second 100,000+ square foot building. is to start construction shortly after Phase I's completion. "You will never regret your investment in Madison County, Alabama," says Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong.
Sierra Nevada is best known for its contract to re-supply the International Space Station, using NASA's Dream Chaser. Company officials say, while they are continuing to study whether they could land the shuttle at Huntsville International Airport, this expansion project will not involve that program.