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Lafayette plant to build helicopters by 2016

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LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Company officials say Bell Helicopter is expected to begin assembly operations by 2016 at a new $26.3 million facility at the Lafayette Regional Airport.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1tZwAzr ) the company is set to start hiring next year for the estimated 115 new jobs at the assembly plant, which comes in addition to Bell's two existing repair and overhaul facilities located in the Lafayette area.

"We know the dedication of the workforce here, and that was a big driver," Bell Helicopter President and CEO John Garrison said at a Wednesday event to mark the start of construction for the facility.

The 82,300-square-foot assembly plant is taking shape on 14.5 acres at the Lafayette Regional Airport.

The state is paying for construction of the plant, which will be owned by the airport and leased to Bell.

"We are proud to have a leader in the industry locate in Lafayette," said Lafayette Regional Airport commissioner Paul Segura.

The plant will produce the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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