Bath Iron Works will build a new addition in order to upgrade employee facilities at its Bath shipyard.

The Bath planning board unanimously approved the project Tuesday.

The three-story, 21,050-square-foot building will be built in the footprint of an existing single-story tool storage area. The first floor of the new building will hold tools, the second floor will have new employee bathrooms, and the third floor will hold a lunchroom and break area, said Chris Main, BIW facilities engineer.

“The project is the first part of a kick-off to worksite enhancements,” said Main. “We’re investing some money into the workforce, the conditions of the facilities they use every day and the experience of being a BIW worker.”

Bath Iron Works is planning to construct this three-story addition, as seen in this rendering, to house tools, a break room and bathrooms for its employees. Image courtesy Bath Iron Works

The new building will sit behind the shipyard’s Assembly Building that runs down Washington Street.

“I think it’s a great project,” said Cal Stilphen, planning board member. “I’m sure the employees are going to welcome this.”

According to an internal company publication, the new building is part of a larger $6 million improvement plan, but BIW spokesman David Hench said the company isn’t prepared to discuss the cost of the new building.

The funding came from a larger contract modification award the shipyard received last summer, according to the company. The award earmarked $70 million to improve the delivery of materials and fund infrastructure improvements to enhance the workplace. Future improvements include the addition of new lockers and offices for supervisors.

Construction on the new building is expected to begin in the spring.

“This investment, like ongoing improvements to the building interior, is about valuing our people by providing safe, reliable and well-kept facilities,” Hench wrote in an email to The Times Record. “This is as important as ever as we grow our workforce and develop the next generation of shipbuilders. We appreciate the support of the Department of Defense and our congressional delegation in making this investment in the nation’s shipbuilding industrial base a reality.”

The company embarked on a hiring spree in late 2019 on a mission to recover from production delays and replace a wave of retiring workers.

The company hired and trained nearly 1,800 employees in 2019 and added about 1,000 more last year, bringing the shipyard’s total workforce to over 6,900, according to Hench. BIW plans to hire another 2,650 employees by the end of this year.

“Only twice in 75 years have we hired more people, the last being World War II,” the company wrote in a statement last December. “As the needs of our Navy customer accelerate due to an increasingly competitive world landscape, our ships are needed now to provide protection for our country and our allies throughout the world.”

This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the number of BIW employees.


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