ROANOKE, Ind. (WANE) General Motors will spend more than $1 billion to expand operations at the Fort Wayne Assembly Plant in what the company is calling one of its largest investments ever at a U.S. manufacturing facility.

GM will invest more than $1.2 billion to expand and upgrade the existing 3.3 million-square-foot facility. The new construction will add 1.5 million square feet of new space at the plant, will include a new pre-treatment facility and expanded body shop, as well as an expansion of its general assembly capabilities. After all the construction is done, the total campus will expand to 4.8 million square feet. The upgrades will improve the efficiency of the plant which will include a reduction in emissions.

“The upgrades taking place at Fort Wayne Assembly assure we can meet consumer demand and grow customers for life for years to come,” said Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM North America Manufacturing. “The Fort Wayne plant is a critical, important plant for us. It’s got a great product in the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.”

Work is expected to begin in June and will take several years to complete. Production at the plant will not be affected.

GM leaders said the investment shows what a strong workforce the Fort Wayne plant has.

“The workforce here is incredible, and they’re building such a great product. They’re stepping up to the plate every day and solving problems, and continuing to improve, so it really is a testament less to us as this workforce,” UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said. “All the players came to the table- GM, UAW leadership, UAW local membership, state and local leaders and officials so I think this is a model that we’ve got to continue to have across the United States in whatever industry.”

The Fort Wayne Assembly Plant first opened in 1986 and produces full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks and employs approximately 3,800 workers. Union leaders said the improvements will make the plant a leader across the country.

“Our membership, they build the best quality pick-up trucks of anybody and this is just a testament to what we do. The investment of General Motors in our plant shows their commitment to us and we’re going to show our commitment to them,” UAW Local 2209 President Brian Hartman said.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered General Motors up to $500,000 in training grants based on the company’s economic development plans. The IEDC will also provide the community with up to $5 million in infrastructure assistance from the state’s Industrial Development Grand Fund. Additionally, the Indiana Department of Transportation will allocate up to $4.6 million to Allen County for additional public infrastructure assistance. Allen County has approved additional incentives at the request of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

“The expansion of the Fort Wayne General Motors facility is a tremendous commitment because it not only cements GM’s future in the Allen County community, but it also ensures that we will continue to employ Northeast Indiana residents for years to come,” said Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters.