With an eye toward significantly increasing its presence in the West, National Gypsum Co. is set to build a state-of-the-art wallboard plant just outside of Phoenix. Slated for completion by mid-2008, the new plant will be capable of producing one billion square feet of wallboard annually or enough to finish about 100,000 average sized homes. When finalized, the new facility will serve Phoenix, Tuscon, Las Vegas, San Diego, Albuquerque, El Paso and Los Angeles by truck. Other West Coast markets will be served by rail, including Denver, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Boise and Seattle.

The company is investing nearly $140 million in project and will create about 100 direct and 150 indirect jobs, according to National Gypsum CEO Thomas C. Nelson. While the company has not made a final site selection it is leaning toward Eloy, Ariz., about 60 miles south of Phoenix.