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PINELAND, TEXAS — It’s been in operation for more than 100 years. Whether it was producing particleboard, plywood, or lumber, Georgia-Pacific’s Pineland Lumber has been a mainstay in Sabine County and the city of Pineland since 1910. With the recent completion of a $120 million expansion, the East Texas mill is writing a new chapter in its history as it becomes the largest sawmill in the south.

Today the local forest products manufacturer cut the ribbon on its newest sawmill that has the capacity to produce 450 million board feet of lumber annually—which is equivalent to the amount of lumber needed to build 30,000 houses. The capital improvement project includes a modified log yard, a fully modernized sawmill, a continuous dry kiln, and a high-speed planer.

The new sawmill replaces a stud mill that was built in the 1960s. That product line has been incorporated into the new mill while those affected employees have transitioned into new roles at the facility.

“Georgia-Pacific has been a strong community partner for many years, and we are excited that Pineland was chosen for this expansion project,” said Daryl Melton, Sabine County Judge. “The mill is one of our largest employers with close to 300 workers, and we are happy to support the mill’s continued growth. After all, this project is an investment in the overall economic health of this county.”

With this investment, the Pineland facility now has the capability to accept more log trucks per day—and in less time. The modified log yard and the use of wheel loaders— that can unload a truck in one “bite” as opposed to two—will increase the mill’s truck traffic from approximately 250 to 300 per day. According to Judge Melton, this is good news for the logging industry. “Logging is one of our leading industries in East Texas and this will have a positive impact on those in the logging industry from landowners and harvesters to truck drivers and logging suppliers,” said Melton.

The capital improvement project began last April with up to 350 contractors onsite. “We built a sawmill within an existing sawmill which presented a few challenges,” said Ronnie Comeaux, Georgia-Pacific Regional Lumber Manager. “However, we continued to successfully operate at full capacity through the entire construction process, and in the end, we were able to modernize our lumber complex that will sustain operations for years to come.”

Unique to the new sawmill is the application of cross laminated timbers (CLT) which were used to construct electrical control rooms and specialty equipment enclosures. “We chose to install the CLT for a variety of reasons,” said Comeaux. “It is an environmentally friendly option to many traditional building materials, as CLT is a completely sustainable resource. CLT construction is strong, tough, and light-weight due to the arrangement of the individual boards in a panel.  The CLT panels also offer inherent properties for fire resistance, noise reduction and thermal performance. Finally, CLT buildings are a great way to support our lumber industry and showcase the natural beauty of wood construction.”

Georgia-Pacific operates 12 lumber mills throughout the country. According to Georgia-Pacific Lumber President Fritz Mason, Pineland was selected for the expansion for many reasons, including the area’s workforce and natural resources. “This mill has a long history in Sabine County, which dates back to 1910,” said Mason. “With the mill favorably located in the middle of the Southern Pine Forest of deep East Texas coupled with an experienced workforce that dates back several generations, Pineland Lumber is well positioned to prosper for years to come.”