Construction will soon begin on the southeast corner of the Pratt Regional Airport for new facilities for the John Deere dealership BTI Pratt. The new location is on the northwest corner of the intersection of north U.S. 281 and 30th Street.

The new building will allow BTI to expand their service area and increase their workforce.

The new facilities will replace the current building and lot located about a mile north of the new location at the airport. The new facility will be located on 25 acres and will feature a new store and shop building covering 51,500 square feet. The new building will replace the current building that has 18,000 square feet, said BTI Pratt General Manager Jeremie Estes.

BTI first located in Pratt in 2007.

The new building will not be “green” at the same level as the Greensburg facility but it will incorporate several green features for efficiency.

Besides the big new building, with 25 acres BTI will have a larger area to display equipment for sale.

“We’re going to have a lot of room for equipment,” Estes said.

The new service department will feature a large shop measuring 250 feet by 90 feet and have over 20 service bays. The new service area is so large the entire current building could fit inside the new shop, Estes said.

Construction on the new facility is expected to start sometime this week with completion expected in February or March 2011.

Improving the service department was the whole reason for putting up a new building. The limited space made it very cramped for service work.

“Right now we just don’t have enough room for our service department,” Estes said.

The larger service area will allow BTI to add more technicians and expand their service crew with 14 new employees. Currently, BTI has a total of 30 employees at the Pratt facility.

The new building will feature a much bigger parts storage area, a large conference room that can hold all the employees at the same time. The room can hold 60 in classroom style or can hold up to 150 for other activities.

“It’s a pretty good sized room,” Estes said.

The conference room can be closed off from the rest of the building and be used for community activities. 

The BTI construction and expansion will be good for the community and good for the area, said Reid Bell, airport and industrial park manager.

“We’re excited to have them on the airport,” Bell said.

Pratt Regional Airport owns the land where the current building and lot are located. They have purchased the building and are negotiating with an interested party about purchasing the building but nothing is firm yet, Bell said.

Until construction is complete, BTI will stay remain in the current building until construction is complete. The BTI headquarters are based in Bucklin and they have facilities in Bucklin, Greensburg, Ness City and Pratt.

Copyright 2010 Pratt Tribune. Some rights reserved.