Boise-based Idaho Timber, will make a $3.5 million capital investment to refurbish and reopen a sawmill in Coushatta, Louisiana, with plans to create 90 jobs. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the Coushatta mill project will also result in an additional 289 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 370 new jobs.
The mill 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.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.
"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," Idaho Timber CEO Ted 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."
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.
Gov. Bobby 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."
To secure the project, LED offered Idaho Timber the services of LED FastStart, the state’s workforce development program. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana's Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.