Excavation underway at SEL’s Moscow property

Construction workers continue moving dirt at the site of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories’ planned 140,000-square-foot facility on U.S. Highway 95 south of Moscow. The plant is slated to finish by the end of 2022.

Crews have started excavation on Moscow land where a 140,000-square-foot manufacturing plant will be constructed for the region’s largest private employer.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories’ project on the south side of Moscow is expected to take about a year and a half to complete, said Jana Schultheis, SEL’s vice president of property in Pullman.

“If everything goes according to plan, we’ll be in full production, basically finished with a certificate of occupancy at the end of 2022,” she said.

The building will house a state-of-the-art plant for fabricating printed circuit boards used in the digital products that SEL invents, designs and makes that protect power grids around the world.

It is the most recent expansion for the company that employs more than 3,000 people in north central Idaho and southeastern Washington.

The number of individuals who will staff the Moscow facility when it opens is still being determined, said Kate Wilhite, a spokeswoman for SEL.

The construction work in Moscow is happening in phases.

Temporary fences have been installed around the perimeter. A total of 60,000 cubic yards of dirt are being moved within the site to flatten it by the contractor Motley-Motley Inc. from Pullman, Schultheis said.

In coming weeks, the footings and foundation will be installed before crews start building walls and other parts of the building no later than August, Schultheis said.

“You’ll start to see a very ... active construction job site by that time,” she said.

By about July 2022, SEL will begin accepting shipments of manufacturing equipment as it enters the last phases of preparing the building.

The 150 acres SEL acquired last year that were annexed into Moscow are part of the company’s growing presence in the region.

The plant under construction will occupy about 12 acres, and the rest of the area will be developed in coming decades depending on SEL’s needs, Schultheis said.

The company has a manufacturing site in Lewiston and is headquartered in Pullman, where it was founded and has 120 acres.

A new event center that had been planned before COVID-19 hit is on hold and would use 5 acres of the 20 remaining acres in Pullman, Schultheis said.

“We still have several sites in Pullman that we could choose to build on should the business require it,” she said.

Williams may be contacted at ewilliam@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261.

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