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ARCHIVED  November 5, 1999

Walker Mfg. plans to double in size

FORT COLLINS — Walker Manufacturing Co. of Fort Collins may be rolling out more than just lawnmowers this coming spring. A 100,000 square-foot expansion plan, designed to accommodate as many as 100 new employees, is set for submission to Larimer County.

“We’re actually building more than we need right now,” reported Walker Manufacturing owner Bob Walker, whose operation currently supports 135 jobs. “We’re building not just for the needs of the immediate future, but reaching ahead. It may take us five to 10 years before we add another 100 people, but that’s the size of the facility that we’re putting in planning.”

Walker added that the company has already met with the county planning department for a concept technical review and that a formal submission of the project is pending: “We had hoped to make an October submittal, but now it will be November,” he said.

Walker Manufacturing, founded in Fowler, Kan., in 1959, moved to Fort Collins in 1974 and has occupied its current 116,000 square-foot facility, on East Harmony Road outside Timnath, since 1990.

“We are going out of the original building envelope,” Walker explained. “They (Larimer County) basically gave us a conditional zoning for light industrial in the late 1980s. We now have this new building plan and will have to resubmit for review by the planning people.”

But senior engineer Terry McEnany of the Sear-Brown Group in Fort Collins, which is handling drainage, sewage system and various other aspects of the project, does not foresee any major stalls in its progress. “Actually there aren’t that many issues,” he said.

“Certainly, the sewage disposal system is an issue, but not a big issue. We just need to put all the applications and reports into the county, and then the county will probably send it all off to the state. But that’s just the process. Everything looks like it’s in order; there are no real problems,” he said, adding that the proposed building design for the expansion is pretty basic, and could be raised quickly once construction begins.

In addition to doubling the company’s manufacturing capabilities, the added floor space would allow Walker Manufacturing to install a fully automated powder coating system — an environmentally friendly process the company would use to paint its commercial riding mowers.

The final goahead on the expansion will not be made before spring 2000, Walker said, but regardless of when or if the project moves forward, Walker Manufacturing, which posted $39 million in sales for the 1999 fiscal year ended Sept. 30 and produced more than 6,000 commercial riding mowers in the last year, will remain in Fort Collins. “We have a big investment here,” he said. “We are committed to Fort Collins.”

FORT COLLINS — Walker Manufacturing Co. of Fort Collins may be rolling out more than just lawnmowers this coming spring. A 100,000 square-foot expansion plan, designed to accommodate as many as 100 new employees, is set for submission to Larimer County.

“We’re actually building more than we need right now,” reported Walker Manufacturing owner Bob Walker, whose operation currently supports 135 jobs. “We’re building not just for the needs of the immediate future, but reaching ahead. It may take us five to 10 years before we add another 100 people, but that’s the size of the facility that we’re putting in…

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