CertainTeed Ceilings could have its Meridian plant restart production by the end of March, company Vice President and General Manager Graham Thayer said.

On Monday, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors approved a rail spur lease for CertainTeed at $100 per month as part of the county's incentive to seal CertainTeed’s commitment to invest $24 million and bring 100 new jobs to the county.

Thayer said with Monday’s approval of the rail spur was key in its plans to restart its production line of ceiling tiles and panels.

“With the outlook brightening in recent years, we announced in June of 2013 that we would be reopening the facility and bringing approximately 100 new jobs to the plant by 2016,” Thayer said. “Currently, our employment levels are approximately half of that as we put the finishing touches on installing production lines and making numerous improvements to the plant. We are hopeful that we'll restart Meridian during the first quarter of this year.”

That is good news, Lauderdale County Administrator David Engel said.

“That’s music to our ears,” Engel said. “Any time you a hear an employer like CertainTeed is going to restart production and add jobs, it's especially good news.”

Thayer said the rail spur lease was crucial for CertainTeed to restart.

“The approval of the rail lease is part of the plan we announced about a year-and-a-half ago to reopen the plant that we idled in 2009 due to the struggling U.S. economy,” Thayer said. “The rail spur is a key component to restarting the facility as it will allow us to bring critical raw materials into the facility for the manufacture of ceiling tiles and acoustical wall panels used in commercial construction applications.”

CertainTeed stopped production in 2009, keeping only distribution and administrative personnel at its Meridian plant. Four years later, in 2013, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, the Mississippi Development Authority and the Meridian City Council entered into an agreement to help get restart of production started again.