The Town of Newburgh-based Ironworkers Local 417 won a $350,000 Empire State Development grant this month that it will use to help build a $1 million addition at its Route 32 training facility to accommodate a surge in demand from the Tappan Zee Bridge and other projects.
Construction is expected to begin in the spring and be finished within six months on a roughly 4,800-square-foot, 33-foot-high addition that will give the 300-member union two extra classrooms and more training space for classes in erecting structures, rebar and window installation and welding.
"There's a lot more going on compared to the last few years," Business Manager Michael Gaydos said. "Now we have more apprentices (and) we've increased our memberships."
Local 417 was among the winners in this year's state regional economic development council competition, which ended this month with $83.3 million awarded to the seven-county Mid-Hudson region.
Two of the biggest projects driving demand for ironworkers are the $3.9 billion construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge and the $1.3 billion Montreign Resort Casino in Sullivan County, Gaydos said.
Local 417 members will also be utilized for the roughly $500 million construction of a new 696,000-square-foot patient pavilion at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. A groundbreaking for the project was held in September.
Another big project is Competitive Power Ventures' $900 million construction of a power plant in Wawayanda, Gaydos said.
"The better trained they are, the more productive," he said of Local 417's members. "It's just going to make us more likely to be hired."
In addition to the extra class space, the height of the addition will allow the union to simulate the erection of a steel structure, said Matthew Stoddard, Local 417's president.
"We're going to erect a building inside the building - but just on a smaller scale," he said.
Read Times Herald-Record Story