Vitro Breaks Ground on $55 Million Expansion

WICHITA FALLS, TX - After in-depth planning, the Vitro Architectural Glass company broke ground on their expansion for a jumbo coater in Wichita Falls.

The coater puts a layer on the glass to make it more energy efficient.

"We've been working on this for about four years to build a state-of-the-art coater for 'low E' glass. This is a glass that everybody today has to use in their homes because of energy codes," Vitro's president, Dick Beuke, said.

This will be the largest coater of its kind in North America -- and the company chose Wichita Falls for many reasons -- one of them being the plant's more than 40 year history.

"When it came time to expand our plant -- the local plant management team -- working with the local community decided that they wanted to have this extension here and they made it work," Beuke said.

Officials with the company say the $3 million incentive from Wichita Falls' 4A Board was instrumental in bringing in this equipment.

"Well, I said we've got a great team in the factory,  but just equally as important is -- we've got a great team in our community support here. It would not have happened without the support of the City of Wichita Falls and Burkburnett," Vitro Plant Manager, Bill Haley, said.

And the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce President said this investment will pay off for both communities.

"Everybody always talks about recruiting businesses.... who's the next company you're bringing in, but just as in any business, it's easier and less expensive to preserve what you've got and help grow. That works for economic development too. We need to work with existing businesses and help keep them here," Henry Florsheim with the Chamber of Commerce said.

And help them thrive and add to their workforce -- this addition will bring about 50 new jobs to the plant. 

The City of Burkburnett also invested in this project and construction on the expansion is expected to wrap up in the spring of 2018.

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