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      Boeing plans expansion in North Charleston

      File photo (MGN)

      NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Boeing officials have announced that construction will begin on a new paint facility on their main North Charleston campus.

      According to a press release from the aviation company, the 230,000 square-foot facility will be used to paint 787 Dreamliners beginning in 2016.

      Currently, 787s are flown to Fort Worth, Texas, for final paint and then flown back to South Carolina for customer delivery.

      "Painting our airplanes in South Carolina supports our Lean manufacturing and production optimization initiatives," said Jack Jones, vice president and general manager, Boeing South Carolina. "We can make our delivery process even more efficient by painting airplanes here in South Carolina, creating more value and convenience for our customers."

      Boeing also plans to build a new 10,000 square-foot fully equipped fire station on the property. It should be up and running by 2014.

      The company also announced that it got access to 468 acres in North Charleston through a long-term lease with Palmetto Railways, a division of the S.C. Department of Commerce.

      On top of the 267 acres sold by the Charleston County Aviation Authority, another 201 acres of land in North Charleston were purchased with state bond funds allocated to Boeing.

      The company has an option to purchase all of the 468 acres at the end of the initial lease term at the end of 2027.

      "This expansion makes future growth in North Charleston possible. While we expect to begin the permitting process immediately for this property, we have no specific plans for the land other than where we will locate the new paint facility," said Jones. {}{}{}

      Company officials said they will also add a second autoclave in 2016 to support aftbody composite fabrication for 787 program rate increases.

      "We've been busy here in South Carolina this year," said Jones. "Our BSC teammates have not only been ramping to rate in component and airplane production, but they're doing it in the middle of construction zones. Our commitment to South Carolina is visibly demonstrated every day as our growth and expansion continues. I don't expect that ending anytime soon."{}

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