CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Work on the assembly plant’s $30-million paint shop is officially underway.
"This is just the perfect start," said Thilo Brockhaus, VW construction manager. "I’ve seen many such projects, and this is the best start we’ve ever had."
It’s definitely not what you expect a construction manager to say on a day when heavy rain halted work on Volkswagen’s paint shop.
But Brockhaus can’t contain his optimism. This time next week. The paint shop’s foundation will be on the ground.
"The building will be weather tight by September of this year," said Brockhaus. "That is what you would call a building where you can move in and then go on to do the interior works, the fit out."
If nine months sounds like a tight timeline, that’s because it is. Brockhaus has no doubt they’ll get it done. A lot of that is thanks to prep work done by the city, county and state.
"They prepared everything," said Brockhaus. "They drained the grounds, so that even though we’ve had rain, tomorrow you can work because it’s drained."
"It really is a testament that rain or shine, good weather or bad, work is moving forward," said Jill Bratina, Volkswagen spokesperson.
The paint shop is the first of three main structures on the Volkswagen campus. Construction on a body shop and assembly plant should begin in the spring.
Brockhaus says they’re tackling the paint shop first because it’s most complex.
"It is not only a shell where you put equipment, there are different floors, it’s a very complicated building, from the construction, the mechanical, electrical the process equipment," said Brockhaus.
"You can’t have even a bit of dust get onto the vehicle while it’s being painted, so it’s all automated inside," said Bratina. "There are no workers in that facility painting the vehicles; it’s a completely automated process."
It’s important to point out that the paint shop is Volkswagen’s first real investment at the Enterprise South site. It makes up $30 million of the billion dollar plant.
Once the paint shop’s foundation is laid, steel beams will start to go up. The paint shop will start to look like a building, by early spring.
WRCB Channel 3 News