CertainTeed Gypsum will suspend gypsum wallboard production at its Jacksonville, Fla. plant, effective Jan. 7, 2009. The company base this decision on the ongoing decline in new home construction starts in the southeastern U.S., and resulting decrease in demand for wallboard.

“It is always a very difficult decision to cease operations,” said John Donaldson, company president. “The employees at the Jacksonville plant have demonstrated an absolute commitment to safety, quality, customer service and teamwork and this closing in no way reflects their hard work and dedication to our business. But unfortunately, customer demand has dropped to such a low level that we simply cannot continue to manufacture at the present time.”

The plant will begin winding down production on November 14. The company hopes to restart wallboard production when the housing market rebounds.

“I know this suspension will have a significant impact on our employees, their families and the Jacksonville community,” Donaldson said. “We are committed to providing those who will be leaving the Jacksonville plant with the resources they need to identify new opportunities in the local area and within CertainTeed. In addition we will help employees prepare resumes, enhance their interviewing skills, and provide moral support during this period.”

Approximately 54 local employees will be impacted.

In addition to the Jacksonville facility, CertainTeed operates 21 gypsum wallboard, finishing and mining facilities throughout North America.