National Gypsum Co. announced plans to build a state-of-the-art wallboard plant near Phoenix. The plant will be capable of producing one billion square feet of wallboard.

"We are excited about expanding in the West and growing with those markets," said CEO Thomas C. Nelson. "Our investment in the Phoenix/Tucson region will be approximately $140 million and we expect the plant to be operational by mid-2008. We are in the final stages of site selection, with our preferred site being in Eloy, about 60 miles south of Phoenix. Plant operations will be based on our successful low-cost model, supported by a nearby rock source, high-speed technology, direct rail access, and large-scale production. The plant will create approximately 100 direct and 150 indirect jobs."

The plant will serve Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, San Diego, Albuquerque, El Paso and Los Angeles by truck. Other West Coast markets will be served by rail including Denver, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Boise and Seattle.

Next year, the company will open a new high-speed wallboard plant near its headquarters in Charlotte. This facility will produce up to one billion square feet of wallboard annually and serve the Southeast markets.