Louisiana Pacific Corp. on Friday announced the number of jobs that will be cut at its siding plant in the Roaring River community in late March as a result of a shift in production.

Breeanna Straessle, LP senior manager, corporate communications, said shutting down one of two presses at the plant used to manufacture SmartSide fiber-based siding will result in nearly 40 jobs being eliminated in late March. Straessle said this announcement could be made now because meetings with employees had been completed.

“No decisions have been made regarding the number of impacted employees following the shuttering of the second line later this year,” said Straessle.

In late November, LP first announced its plans to cut jobs as part of the shift in production but didn’t disclose how many. This was announced in meetings with employees and to the media. At that time, LP employed 312 people at the plant.

In April 2017, nearly 400 people were employed at the LP plant in Roaring River when the company held an event celebrating 20 years of producing LP SmartSide siding, trim and related products. The mill’s annual capacity then was 300 million square feet of siding, trim and related products a year.

Straessle said in mid-January that a job fair for LP employees losing their jobs would be held in late February. She said local employers would be invited to participate. “Our Employee Assistance Program will also provide on-site counseling in the coming weeks.”

The reduction in employment is resulting from the plant being transitioned from a fiber siding plant to a strand-based siding prefinishing facility, said Straessle.

“The conversion will unfortunately result in adjustments to our workforce, as prefinishing requires less manpower to operate. We’ve notified employees at LP Roaring River that certain roles will be eliminated following the discontinuation of the first press line,” said Straessle.

She said sales of LP’s SmartSide fiber-based siding, produced at the Roaring River plant, have continued a decline and the company decided to discontinue production of fiber-based siding in the U.S. by the end of 2020.

Straessle said LP’s SmartSide strand-based siding is one of the fastest-growing siding brands in the nation. “To support LP’s focus on prefinished strand-based solutions, we plan to invest approximately $10-15 million in LP Roaring River over the next few years to transition it,” she said.

“We plan to complete the production shift by the end of 2020, shutting down press line one in late March and the second and final line before the year is out.

The LP operation in Roaring River began as Abitibi in September 1970, with economic incentives provided by state and local governments. A second siding manufacturing line was added in 1980, and it became an ABTco plant when sold in 1990.

LP acquired the operation in 1999, and in 2007-08 started manufacturing SmartSide siding, a rot and termite resistant product. The plant has been continually updated and expanded over the years.

With almost 12 acres under roof on a 400-acre tract along the Yadkin River, the LP facility at the end of ABTco Road has an appraised county property tax value of $7.72 million.

Founded in 1973, Louisiana Pacific is a global company headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., and traded on the New York Stock exchange under LPX.

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