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As construction continued today on the Roanoke Valley Lumber sawmill in Weldon, officials and Roseburg Forest Products leaders held a groundbreaking at the site off Watkins Drive.

Despite the rain and the placement of boards that served as a path to the tent where the groundbreaking was held, spirits were high at the event which served as a celebration for the 375,000-square-foot facility.

The company announced it planned to expand its operations in the Southeastern United States last summer with the high-capacity dimensional lumber mill during an event with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

Since that initial announcement, extensive preparation work has occurred at the 200-acre Roanoke Valley Lumber site, former home to Roanoke Valley Energy facility.

Roseburg has contracted with BID Group to design, build and equip the sawmill complex. The mill is expected to create more than 135 jobs in the first two years.

“Roseburg has been the largest private timberland owner in the Roanoke Valley area since 2017, with nearly 200,000 acres of timberland in North Carolina and Virginia,” said Adam Reed, Roanoke Valley Lumber plant manager. “This new sawmill advances Roseburg’s strategy of vertical integration – owning the trees and the facilities to process them – from the West Coast to the Southeast. It reflects our long-term commitment to the Roanoke Valley area, which has welcomed us to the community with open arms.”

Weldon Mayor Hugh Credle called the ceremony “a significant milestone not only for Roseburg Forest Products, but also for Weldon. We are laying the foundation for the growth of Roseburg Forest Products and the town of Weldon, and a tremendous partnership for years to come.”

Vernon Bryant, chairman of the Halifax County Board of Commissioners, said, “We are excited to share this important milestone for Roseburg’s Roanoke Valley Lumber project. Since the project’s announcement, the company is already having a positive impact. Their management team has moved here, purchased homes, supported local businesses, and much more. This is how we grow Halifax County and improve our quality of life.”

Dan Brown, president of Halifax County Business Horizons, said the organization was excited to be at the event. “It’s a beautiful day for Weldon, Halifax County and all of us here. No one person could have done it by themselves. Horizons has certainly been engaged in this project.”

Brown described the project as one which “demonstrates we’re able to deliver the resources and develop a site.”

North Carolina State Representative Michael Wray said, “Roseburg’s Roanoke Valley Lumber is a success story for Halifax County and the state of North Carolina. The project is a perfect example of the strong collaboration between the state and our local communities to bring sustainable manufacturing jobs and investment to North Carolina.”

Pete Hancock, Roanoke Timberlands manager, said, “It has been an honor for me to get to know many of your personally. We feel it’s great to both hire locally and then bring people into the area.”

Hancock said the company has been able to get involved with the community, by initially joining the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Since then we’ve been able to support community activities, youth sports, and the 4-H program. The Christmas tree lighting was a lot of fun. But more importantly we’ve been able to identify what we can do in the future, in the coming months and years.”

He said the company lives by its core values — safe to the core, handshake integrity, sawdust in the veins and driven to win. “Our values form our business decisions and how we operate day to day. We often say our purpose is to make lives better from the ground up in a literal sense from the natural resources that we manage to the building products that we’re going to manufacture.”

Roseburg currently has 13 manufacturing facilities in North America, including the country’s second largest short lumber stud mill in Dillard, Oregon. 

The company carefully selected the site for this new mill, with criteria including market demand, business climate, and workforce availability at the top of the list.