Turner Industries expanding equipment site

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Jesse Morain, operations manager for Turner Industries' heavy equipment storage and maintance faciltity, stands near some of the company's cranes. Turner will soon break ground on a $7.5 million expansion of its equipment and maintenance facility in north Baton Rouge.
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Jesse Morain, operations manager for Turner Industries' heavy equipment storage and maintance faciltity, stands near some of the company's cranes. Turner will soon break ground on a $7.5 million expansion of its equipment and maintenance facility in north Baton Rouge.

Turner Industries is set to begin work next week on a $7.5 million expansion at its heavy equipment storage and maintenance facility in north Baton Rouge near the intersection of Interstate 110 and Airline Highway.

The work, which should be completed in about 10 months to a year, involves building a 50,169-square-foot repair and maintenance facility on East Mason Avenue, along with an administrative office, said Stephen Toups, Turner’s executive vice president and chief information officer.

“This is the original site of Turner Industries,” Toups said. “Our roots are in this house and there’s no point in turning our back on it.”

Over the years, the industrial contractor has spread out to other locations across the Capital Region, moving its corporate offices to United Plaza Boulevard, opening a fabrication yard in Port Allen and a regional personnel office on Highlandia Drive.

The East Mason Avenue facility became the spot in Baton Rouge where Turner’s fleet of cranes, trucks and other vehicles is maintained and stored. The company has similar lots in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Houston.

Once the Baton Rouge expansion is completed, Toups said, it will be the central service site for the fleet of equipment and vehicles. For example, if a crane is being moved from a lot in Houston to a job in Pascagoula, Miss., it would stop off in Baton Rouge for maintenance.

“These big, big, big cranes, you can’t take them to Jiffy Lube,” Toups said. “These are things it takes 18 18-wheelers to move. It simplifies things by bringing them all in one spot.”

About 100 people work at the East Mason site. Once the expansion is completed, Toups said, about 15 new jobs will be added. About 60 contract workers also are employed at the maintenance yard, based on Turner’s workload.

This caps off a recent building boom for Turner, which over the past few years has opened new offices on Highlandia Drive and Port Allen, both designed by architect Trey Trahan.

Jesse Morain, operations manager at the East Mason site, said he’s glad to see the new construction has extended to his facility.

“I’m the third generation of people to work at this site,” he said. “It’s good to see that things will continue here.”