MUSCLE SHOALS — A 63,000-square-foot warehouse being built on the Tennessee Valley Authority's Muscle Shoals Reservation will allow TVA to increase efficiency and reduce the cost of repairing massive turbine parts for power production facilities in seven states, according to officials.

Construction on the first new facility built at the TVA Power Service Center since the mid 1970s or early 1980s began in March. Project Manager Ben Foshee said construction is expected to be completed in August. The power service center has been operational since 1951.

He said it represents a $13.6 million investment in the Shoals.

The new warehouse will be used to store components such as spare rotors for turbines and large motors used at TVA's various power producing facilities such as fossil plants, gas fired plants, hydroelectric dams and nuclear plants. The center also performs transformer work throughout the Tennessee Valley.

Doug Keeling, general manager of the Power Service Shops, said there are currently 185 employees and another 400 contract workers at the Power Service Center.

"We work all across TVA, we work for all the power generating facilities - coal, gas, hydro and nuclear, across seven states," Keeling said.

Keeling said they perform other work around the community, like refurbishing the water wheel in Tuscumbia's Spring Park.

Shop Operations Manager Corey Saint said the new facility will allow TVA to store various parts in a centralized location near the shop where repairs and refurbishing are done.

"It will all be centrally located in one warehouse," Saint said.

Parts are currently stored at various locations, Saint said. Some are stored at the plant facility while others are stored in other warehouses across the valley.

"This facility creates the ability to shift centralizing the turbine rotors will help reduce costs, for maintenance and repairs for the fleet," Keeling said. "It will reduce the long term cost of maintenance to those assets, which is a benefit to our rate payers."

Being in Muscle Shoals gives them the ability to ship parts out by truck, rail or barge.

J.K. Johnson Contracting of Muscle Shoals is the general contractor. Foshee said more than half the contractors are from the Shoals, including Shoals Overhead Door, and Bigbee Steel, which will construct the building itself.

He said there are currently about 50 construction workers on the site.

Johnson Contracting is building the foundation for the warehouse and the 250 ton overhead crane that will be installed inside. The warehouse is being constructed on property adjacent to the power service center on Reservation Road.

Foshee said there will be seven 5-foot thick foundations for the crane supports. It will take 40 concrete truck loads of concrete to build each foundation. There will be 3 feet of concrete in between the crane supports. The concrete is being provided by Blue Star Ready Mix of Florence.

As much as 6,000 yards of concrete could be used in the foundation project, Saint said. The average concrete truck holds nine yards of concrete.

russ.corey@timesdaily.com

or 256-740-5738. Twitter

@TD_.RussCorey

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