BGeorgia Pacific has announced it will be closing its Hardeman County gypsum plant and moving out of the Quanah area, leaving more than 150 employees uncertain about their future. The facility has been a staple of Hardeman County since 1890. The company plans to close the facility near Quanah in two years.
Tom Johnson, superintendent of Quanah ISD told Amarillo TV station KFDA that the loss will be a big blow to the community. The schools are significantly up in enrollment but Johnson is afraid the employees from Georgia pacific will leave Quanah to find work elsewhere, taking with them a large portion of the already small population.
“We have a vast dependence on the plant, just because of payroll, because they are the livelihood of very many of our families,” Johnson said. “We hate so lose something that has been such a huge part of our community, and we just don’t want the potential loss of population because Quanah is a good place. Quanah has a lot of things going for it, we are seeing an upsurge in population and we want to keep the people here.”
The closure is because the company will be opening up a new 285-million-dollar facility near Sweetwater, Texas. They say this location will keep logistic cost low and give them more access to trucks and products.
The company credited State Senator Charles Perry with getting the plant built in Sweetwater. Perry represents Hardeman County as well.
“We are extremely proud that Georgia-Pacific continues to have confidence in the state of Texas and Nolan County,” said Perry. “Georgia-Pacific’s decision to build a $285-million-dollar plant in West Texas demonstrates its ongoing dedication to creating good jobs and new opportunities for the people of Texas. This once again proves that Texas’ responsible regulatory environment and low taxes will keep Texas a leader in job creation for years to come.”
Georgia Pacific will also move the production that comes out of the acme facility near Quanah to Fletcher, Oklahoma.
“We know this is very very challenging for the community of Quanah. We are committed to that area, to do what we can, but again, this was a business decision and it wasn’t taken lightly,” said Yana Ogletree, public affairs manager at Georgia Pacific “Again, we want to be transparent, we want to treat our employees right, we want to treat the community right, and that is why we are doing two plush years out.”
Georgia Pacific is offering the employees a transfer to other facilities within the company or pay for skills training.