The construction phase of one of the largest and most significant expansion projects to ever take place in the city of La Porte is moving along at a consistent pace.
Terry Larson, a fourth generation owner of the La Porte-based Larson Danielson Construction Company (L-D), says the construction of the 320,000 square foot aerospace facility on the grounds of Alcoa Howmet has progressed rapidly since ground broke on the $100 million capital investment that Alcoa officials have previously stated will be home to the "most advanced aerospace facility in the world."
“All of the main structural steel is up and we have begun working on the siding and decking,” Larson said, noting the final two items of L-D’s portion of the project will be the building of a small office and connecting link from the new facility to the original.
Once the building is enclosed in early December, Larson said, his construction team will begin installing the concrete floors. L-D is handling the concrete, carpentry and masonry, while sub-contractor Crane Industrial Services out of Granger is working on the steel erection.
For Larson, being the primary construction company behind Alcoa’s expansion means a bit more than the other large projects the 106-year-old maple city company has taken on throughout the region.
“It isn’t the biggest dollar amount (project), but is the biggest single square footage building we’ve done,” said Larson. “Being a local company here in La Porte, we were obviously extremely interested and wanted to do it.”
L-D has recently completed expansion projects for Task Force Tips and Indiana Beverage in Valparaiso as well as a large portion of the Lake Central Schools project, which was a huge effort at Lake Central High School and Protsman Elementary. But being a part of something positive for their home town is particularly gratifying.
“It’s exciting to be a part of this,” Larson continued. “This is a growing community and this expansion will provide a nice addition.”
Larson credits the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation (GLEDC) for being a big part of this project and all that result in added revenue and exposure for La Porte.
“They give a strong hand to any project that comes up in La Porte,” Larson said. “(GLEDC Executive Director) Bert (Cook) does a fantastic job in finding companies that would like to expand in La Porte.”
Cook says Larson Danielson’s work on the new Alcoa plan has been “nothing short of amazing.”
“The construction of this massive facility has occurred in such a short time and has been really exciting for the city of La Porte and its residents,” Cook said. “That being said, it is not surprising as Larson Danielson comes with a top-notch reputation and is one of the best construction firms in the business.”
Mayor Blair Milo, Larson said, was also “instrumental” in making the Alcoa expansion possible.
“She played a vital role in making it happen,” Larson said.
The Alcoa project won’t be the first, nor the last, major contribution Larson Danielson has made to the city of La Porte. They are responsible for the building on the Civic Auditorium, La Porte County Family YMCA and City Hall.
Milo says she is “extremely excited and fortunate” to have Larson Danielson in La Porte.
“They perform outstanding work and truly have the interests of our community in mind,” Milo said. “La Porte has been a beneficiary of many of their projects and we are grateful to have their contributions of both their work and charitable efforts.”
The mayor is just as excited about the rapid pace of the work being done on the Alcoa project.
“Every time I drive past it, it gets me more excited,” she said. “I am pleased that Alcoa chose Larson Danielson to work on this project as they always stand proud of their work and product.”
Larson Danielson’s construction portion of the Alcoa project is expected to be completed by the spring of next year, with all other phases of the expansion to be wound up by the end of 2015. Once completed, Alcoa will begin making the karger components of jet engines at the new building.
“I think it’s great they (Alcoa) made the decision to do this in La Porte and boost our economy,” Larson said. “It will be the most advanced aerospace facility in the United States, and to have that in La Porte is really incredible.”