OPELIKA — An Illinois-based health care company has completed a $270 million expansion for a manufacturing facility in eastern Alabama.
Baxter Inc. increased the size of the Opelika facility to 400,000 square feet, the Opelika-Auburn News reported . Gov. Kay Ivey along with other state officials attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the facility’s expansion project on Tuesday.
“I pledged to provide more employment opportunities to Alabamians today and for generations to come,” Ivey said. “Today’s ribbon cutting is a shining example of what happens when local leaders come together to create job opportunities for our people. I want our companies to come to Alabama and not just survive, but thrive.”
Baxter makes dialyzers, used for people with end-stage renal disease to filter fluids and wastes through dialysis.
The project broke ground in 2014 and added 230,000 square feet to the facility, said Rosalyn Rivera-Valentin, plant manager at the Opelika plant. The expansion is going to more than double the amount of employees at its facility.
“Before this expansion, we had 170 employees in this facility,” Rivera-Valentin said. “This expansion will bring that number to over 350 employees.”
There are 96 full-time permanent jobs the company already has filled and 90 more that will be added in the coming years.
Since the Opelika plant began commercial operations in 2008, it has manufactured over 75 million dialyzers, Rivera-Valentin said.
“Our individual efforts have a significant impact for our patients in our day to day operations,” Rivera-Valentin said. “That’s why we put so much energy, so much passion to getting everything right for the product for every patient and we’re proud to do it here in Opelika.”
Jackie Kunzler, Baxter Senior Vice President of Global Quality, said the company is proud to be in Alabama.
“Baxter has long been an innovator in end-stage renal disease,” Kunzler said. “Here in Opelika, Baxter is continuing the journey of innovation, offering high tech good paying jobs and career paths for people in the area, serving the community and serving our patients.”