- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Boeing Co. broke ground Wednesday on a new $80 million, 290,000-square-foot building that will house about 800 new employees and be the third structure in the aerospace company’s growing Oklahoma City campus.

The Chicago-based Boeing also announced that the headquarters of the Global Services & Support unit’s Aircraft Modernization and Sustainment division will relocate to Oklahoma City in the next few months, resulting in the transfer of about a dozen senior management positions.

“We see a bright horizon for the aircraft sustainment business because of the highly trained and motivated workforce we have in Oklahoma City,” unit president Leanne Caret said at a news conference.

The new building structure is scheduled to open next summer at the company’s campus near Tinker Air Force Base and will house employees in engineering, research and development laboratories and support staff.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said Boeing’s growing business presence in Oklahoma City will help solidify the state’s position as a premiere destination for the aerospace industry.

“Your decision to place key leadership positions here underscores the long-term nature of our partnership,” Fallin said.

Boeing spokeswoman Jennifer C. Hogan said in an email to The Associated Press that the Aircraft Modernization and Sustainment division, which provides aircraft services for executive transport, airborne refueling, airborne command and control and global strike capabilities, is relocating from St. Louis.

Oklahoma City officials have estimated the expansion will have an economic impact of $637.7 million over four years. Earlier this year, the city agreed to $6 million in job creation incentives for Boeing.

“We are hiring a variety of skills and levels from entry level positions to experts in their field,” Hogan said. “They are highly skilled and high paying jobs.”

Boeing announced plans last year to move most of its defense and support-related services from Washington state to other areas as part of its efforts to improve the competitiveness of the Defense, Space & Security unit. The company said about 2,000 employees could be affected, with 900 jobs possibly moving to Oklahoma City and up to 500 to St. Louis in about three years.

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