Baton Rouge: Governor Bobby Jindal and Idaho Timber CEO Ted Ellis announced the company will reopen a sawmill in Coushatta later this year, creating 90 new direct jobs. The site closed in 2008 as a result of the national recession, and Idaho Timber LLC recently purchased the facility from Hood Industries. The sawmill will produce radius-edge decking, dimension lumber and other timber products crafted from southern yellow pine.
Idaho Timber, based in Boise, Idaho, will make a $3.5 million capital investment to refurbish and reopen the mill by the third quarter of 2013. Hiring is under way and will be completed when the mill comes online. LED estimates the Coushatta mill project will result in an additional 289 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 370 new jobs. Upon full ramp-up of the mill, the average salary of the direct jobs will be $32,000, plus benefits. Idaho Timber estimates the project will create 50 construction jobs.
Gov. Jindal said, "This announcement is great news for Northwest Louisiana and our entire state. Idaho Timber's decision to reopen this facility is a perfect example of how more and more companies are choosing to invest in Louisiana because of our strong business climate, world-class infrastructure and incomparable workforce. With a great business environment and an abundant supply of natural resources such as timber, Louisiana is helping industries like the forestry sector recover from the national recession, and at the same time our economy is growing and more job opportunities are being created for our people. Today's announcement is welcome news for our state and this region, but we won't rest until Louisiana is the best place in the world for businesses to invest and create jobs."
Idaho Timber has begun renovating the Coushatta mill, which consists of four main structures on approximately 60 acres. The facility includes a 79,000-square-foot sawmill and planer building, and three other buildings totaling more than 12,000 square feet that include shop, office and employee break areas. Several other storage and shed facilities are included at the Idaho Timber mill, which dates back more than five decades to the original business, Bobcat Lumber.
"Our decision to acquire the former Hood Industries sawmill in Coushatta was influenced by the flexibility of the facility's manufacturing capability, the knowledgeable and skilled workforce located in the community and surrounding area, and an adequate timber supply," Ellis said. "Combine these factors with our strategic desire to grow our company within the Southern producing region of the United States, and Coushatta became a great opportunity to accomplish our objective."
The state began working with Idaho Timber in October 2012 as the company sought additional capacity with the expected turnaround of the housing industry. To secure the project, LED offered Idaho Timber the services of LED FastStart® – the nation's top-ranked state workforce development program. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana's Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.
"Idaho Timber represents a long-awaited opportunity to reopen this plant," Coushatta Mayor Johnny Cox said. "With hard work and tenacity, we knew we could restart this plant for our families in this community."
"North Louisiana Economic Partnership is pleased to have played a role with our state and local partners in recruiting Idaho Timber," NLEP President Scott Martinez said. "This is a great example of how rural communities can attract and win impactful economic development projects."
As Idaho Timber staffs its Coushatta facility, interested job applicants should make inquiries at the Coushatta mill site, located at 306 Wilkinson St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; email Coy Ernst; or contact Idaho Timber's Corporate Office in Boise by calling 208.377.3000 or by faxing to 208.377.1470.