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Growth in safety training spurs new facility construction
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Growth in safety training spurs new facility construction

PORTAGE | Members of a regional construction trade group said Friday they hope their new training center serves as a sign that Northwest Indiana contractors will remain committed to making safety performance a business imperative.

The Construction Advancement Foundation commissioned the construction of a 7,000-square-foot training center adjacent to its current headquarters at 6050 Southport Road to support what executives describe as strong interest in safety-related programs. 

When Construction Advancement Foundation Executive Director Dewey Pearman began working for the group more than 15 years ago, he said about 200 people took safety classes within a year at the facility. This year, more than 2,000 people will have completed safety-related training. 

He said this new facility, which will have classroom space and large open areas to show training in tasks such as demolition work, is something that project owners, contractors and unions can take pride in.

"More and more contractors are starting to understand that good safety performance is good business," said Pearman after a news conference and ceremonial groundbreaking for the project Friday.

He said the facility could be complete by the second quarter of 2013 at a cost of about $1.6 million. The building is expected to be constructed using building materials that are made completely in the United States.

The Construction Advancement Foundation is a construction trade association that represents between 450 and 500 union contractors working in the commercial, industrial, public works and institutional construction markets in a seven-county area of Northwest Indiana.

"We appreciate and enjoy the good relationship the union construction industry and the contractors share," said Randy Palmateer, business manager for the Northwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council.

Palmateer also said he's pleased that a project labor agreement is in place for the building construction project.

The Gary-based Pangere Corp. is the general contractor for the building construction project.

Pangere CEO Steve Pangere said he was proud to have the opportunity to work on the Construction Advancement Foundation's new site. Pangere said he has spent 40 years in the business and he can attest to the evolution of attitudes as it relates to safety performance in construction and his employees often use the current training space.

Pangere said the project should attract attention from around the country with the type of training that can be provided and what benefits the facility will serve.

Portage Mayor Jim Snyder said the Construction Advancement Foundation's new facility is important because it shows that employers are committed to having an educated workforce, are committed to organized labor and take pride in safety. Snyder said the building will also be a beacon to passers-by since it will have Interstate 94 frontage.

About 30 people attended the ceremony at the Construction Advancement Foundation office.


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