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Ultium Cells plant reaches 'milestone'; construction on schedule

More than 500,000 man-hours have gone into the building's steel framework, which was ceremonially completed Thursday.
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A worker adds his name before the final iron beam was installed at the incoming Ultium Cells LLC electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2021. (Bob. Yosay | Mahoning Matters)

LORDSTOWN — The final iron beam was installed Thursday at the incoming Ultium Cells LLC electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant.

The milestone was marked by a "topping out" ceremony in front of the steel skeleton of what's planned to be a 2.8-million-square-foot facility spanning 30 football fields. More than 500,000 man-hours have gone into the facility, which is slated for completion in 2022, according to a release.

“We are pleased construction at Ultium continues to progress safely and on schedule,” said Kee Eun, president of Ultium Cells LLC. “While we faced unprecedented challenges from the very beginning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to execute successfully according to plan thanks to the collaborative efforts between General Motors and LG Chem, as well as the support and commitment from our contract partners and the local community.”

Workers represented by the Youngstown-based Ironworkers Local 207 took time to sign their names onto the ceremonial final beam before it was hoisted and put in place, draped by American and South Korean flags.

Ultium Cells is a $2.3 billion joint venture between Detroit's General Motors and South Korea's LG Chem to mass-produce batteries to power General Motors' lineup of all-electric vehicles. That investment is also intended to support education, career training and infrastructure in the electric vehicle manufacturing field.

The plant is expected to have an annual energy capacity of 30 gigawatt hours "with room to expand," according to the release.

Ultium Cells is expected to bring on 30 new team members on March 1, according to the release. The facility is expected to create 1,100 new jobs in northeast Ohio and has begun hiring through the Ultium Cells website.

“This is a significant milestone for the Ultium Cells team and our construction trade partners as we continue to build our physical foundation through the construction of our site, and our cultural foundation as we stand up our workforce,” said Tom Gallagher, operations director of Ultium Cells LLC.