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250 working at Baxter site
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Construction continues to ramp up at Baxter International’s $1 billion manufacturing campus on the Newton-Walton county border, and a handful of senior officials toured local media around the sprawling worksite Tuesday.

The first building is under construction and is scheduled to be completed in late 2014, with the rest of the campus to follow in 2015. However, production isn’t scheduled to begin until the first quarter of 2018, as the new pharmaceutical plants must go through a complex inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other federal and state agencies.

There are around 250 workers onsite daily, the vast majority of whom are employed by the series of contractors and subcontractors handling construction of the plant, according to Scot Thomas, director of engineering for Baxter’s BioScience division.

The campus will consist of around 1.2 million square feet of building, said Eric Schnake, Baxter’s engineering director, including a large storage warehouse; a freezer that will stay at -20 degree Celsius to store the plasma used to make Baxter’s drugs; a utility building that houses heating, cooling and water processing; an administration building; an employee building with a cafeteria, exercise facility and Baxter Credit Union; a fractionation building that will be used to separate the plasma into its useful components needed to make medical treatments; and two production facilities for the two drugs the Covington plant will be producing.

The Covington plant will produce Gammagard, which uses healthy antibodies from blood to replace missing antibodies in those with immune deficiency disorders, and Albumin, which is an essential protein found in plasma that is used to treat burns and blood deficiencies, according to Baxter.

For much more on the tour and progress at the Baxter site, including photos, continue to check