Work is underway on a new corrugated box manufacturing facility in Henderson, Kentucky, for long-time client Pratt Industries.

The 750,000 square foot tilt-up box plant is one of two structures being built on the project site. Michigan-based Wieland is constructing a 650,000 square foot paper mill that will be connected to and supply paper for the box plant. The paper mill broke ground in January 2022, with the box plant following in April.

The combined structures represent a $500 million investment by Pratt Industries. It’s the largest investment in the region in more than 25 years and one that’s expected to generate 321 well-paying jobs when the facilities are at full capacity, according to The Lane Report.

Leading a Collaborative Design Effort

“We take tremendous pride in the trust that Pratt Industries places in our company, and we work to maintain that trust by building certainty every step of the way,” said Project Manager Andy McHugh.

That begins long before the project breaks ground. For the Henderson plant, Miller Valentine helped guide the design process from inception. The design needed to account for multiple constraints, including the shape of the site, the location of the adjacent paper mill, and the rail service. In addition, the site falls between two fault zones, which required massive excavation and grading work to comply with seismic requirements.

“This is one of the most challenging sites I have worked on in terms of site constraints,” said Andy.  “We went through several iterations of layouts, site schemes, and even shifting the building different ways to ensure the overall footprint could support the company’s operations.”

The final design scheme provided the most efficient footprint to accommodate needed space and workflow with minimal additional cuts and fills to the site. It can even support future expansion of up to 320,000 square feet.

Managing Unexpected Challenges with Strategic Action

Building certainty is also embedded in Miller Valentine’s construction processes. Even with the best of planning, unexpected obstacles can arise during construction. In this case, the project team encountered bad soils and significant groundwater issues as construction got underway.

“When an unexpected issue crops up, we work with our project partners to develop a plan of action that lays out our options, the impact of each to the schedule and budget, and our recommendations, so the client can make informed decisions,” said Andy. “We collaborate with our clients and project partners to work through problems quickly, efficiently, and with transparency, so we can keep the schedule on track.”

To remediate the soil and groundwater issues, Miller Valentine worked with Envision Contractors, the project’s site excavation contractor, to install temporary drains. Other key project partners include Wat-Kem Mechanical and Haase Mechanical, CEC Facilities Group, and Martin Concrete.

The box plant is scheduled for completion in July 2023.