Box Corrugator Factory Completed for Pratt Industries

Pratt Industries is ramping up operations at its new, 750,000-square-foot corrugated box manufacturing facility in Henderson, Kentucky.

Miller Valentine Construction mobilized in April 2022 and wrapped up work at the end of August. The box plant is a companion to a 650,000-square-foot paper mill, which will supply paper for the plant. The combined structures represent a $500 million investment by Pratt Industries—the largest in the region in more than 25 years.

The box plant is also a case study of why it’s essential to work with a construction partner that takes full accountability for project outcomes.

Adapting to Obstacles on the Go

“We encountered every possible challenge in the initial first six months,” said Project Manager Andy McHugh.

Thanks to comprehensive preconstruction preparations, the project team was well aware of the substantial difficulties posed by the site. Situated between two fault zones, the project necessitated extensive excavation and grading to meet seismic regulations. The relocation of over one million cubic yards of soil was hindered by unfavorable, damp soil conditions.

As work got underway, the team also had to deal with a one-two punch of gravel and concrete shortages. With barge traffic slowed on both the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers due to infrastructure work and low water levels, gravel delivery for the pads was delayed. At the same time, a concrete shortage significantly decreased the volume of pours that could be completed in a day. The project team coordinated with site developer Envision Contractors and concrete contractor Martin Concrete to monitor the situation, find alternative sources, and adapt the schedule as needed.

“As soon as we got a load of gravel or concrete became available, we prioritized the areas that were critical to other work, like steel erection and equipment foundations,” said Superintendent Austin Rohrback. “Our trade partners were great. They were willing to be flexible and jump on board with whatever we needed.”

Just as the material shortages began to ease, winter weather arrived along with rain, ice, and snow. On one February day, the Miller Valentine team and several trade partners had to use makeshift deicers to remove ¾-inch ice before it could damage the structure.

“Most of our trade partners were willing to do whatever it took because they knew we would do anything for them,” Andy noted. “If we told our trade partners that we needed to hit a certain date to get other trades started, they put in the hours to turn their work over.”

In addition to Martin Concrete and Envision Contractors, other key trade partners included Wat-Kem Mechanical, Haase Mechanical, CEC Facilities Group, BenCo Construction, E&B Paving, Legacy Concrete Construction, A-2 Carved-in-Stone, and Tecta America.

Open Communication Key to Trust

Throughout the project, communication proved vital to pivoting as each challenge arose. The project team collaborated with trade partners to readjust plans as needed and met regularly with Pratt Industries representatives to review progress. Providing the client with informed options streamlined decision-making to keep the project moving forward.

The result? Despite significant delays, the project was completed on schedule and Pratt met its start-up date. With a lot of local attention on the project and future revenues on the line, building certainty for the client was paramount.

“We made every effort to make sure they had the facility ready when they needed it,” said Andy. “The client is happy with the results, and we’re proud to continue our relationship with a great client.”

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