Aviagen in Sallisaw is planning an expansion in the Sallisaw industrial park which will include 45 new jobs.
Buddy Spencer, chairman of the Sallisaw Improvement Corporation (SIC), announced the expansion this week.
Spencer said the agreement with Aviagen includes nine acres facing George Glenn Boulevard in the southwest corner of the park, and a 10,000-square-foot building which will be a sort of health and wellness facility for the Aviagen baby chickens. Spencer said the hatchery is currently hatching about 250,000 chicks a day. The chicks are the parent stock of the chicken food products sold in stores.
Spencer said it is his understanding that the Aviagen chicks have become so popular that Aviagen is sold out over a year in advance. He said the new facility and new jobs will focus on the health of the chicks, and that will lead to the construction of about 50 new chicken houses in the area, at a cost of about $450,000 per house.
“I understand 30 new houses are already under construction,” Spencer said.
Spencer said the City of Sallisaw, the Cherokee Nation and Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce assisted with the negotiations for the new facility. He said the city has already issued a building permit for the 10,000-square-foot building, and will be installing the utilities to the new building. The Cherokee Nation contributed to the cost of the land, estimated at $120,000.
According to the agreement, Spencer said, if the building is not constructed, the SIC keeps ownership.
Bill Buckner is the contractor for the building, and estimates construction will take about nine months, weather permitting. Aviagen plans to be in operation in the building by Dec. 31, 2019, Spencer said.
“There is still a lot of ground work to do,” Spencer said.
He explained work on the agreement began about 15 months ago, with Jason Mack, Aviagen vice president of operations.
Sallisaw won the contract with Aviagen over another competing city – Muskogee – Spencer said.
Spencer said the ones to thank for the new jobs in Sallisaw are the late Roy Frye Jr. who helped organize the industrial park, and former mayor George Glenn.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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