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Published: Tuesday, 11/11/2003

Dana tech center nears readiness for first employees


The first of about 485 employees will move into Dana Corp. s $30 million technical center in Maumee next week, the start of what is expected to be a few months process.

Shifting about 380 engineers, managers, and other employees - some of whom had been working in Fort Wayne, Ind. - into the Toledo firm s new hub for light axle and driveshaft technology will take three weeks.

But laboratory equipment from technical centers being replaced in Fort Wayne and nearby Springfield Township, along with the employees who operate it, will have to be moved in stages starting in mid-December, said Terry Jones, Dana s director of global engineering centers.

Dana is moving about 300 pieces of equipment and investing $15 million on new devices, and everything is expected to be in place by the end of March, Mr. Jones said.

The lab will include an area for making prototypes. The lab will include an area for making prototypes.

The largest equipment, four axle-testing machines, will take six to eight weeks to move in from Fort Wayne one at a time, he said.

“Due to our test schedule, we can t just shut down all four pieces,” Mr. Jones said.

Meanwhile, Dana continues to search for about 20 hires for the center, which also will consolidate information-technology jobs from Marion, Ind. The Toledo Fortune 500 firm was looking to hire up to 125 engineers for the technical center when it broke ground in October, 2002, and the company since added about 35 more engineering and information-technology jobs than originally planned.

The building s style is a departure for Dana, which traditionally follows colonial architecture and conservative interiors exemplified by its corporate headquarters on Toledo s Dorr Street and other recently built technical centers, said Wayne Burrer, the company s construction manager for the project.

The building will have 415 office cubicles for employees, some of whom will transfer from Fort Wayne, Ind. The building will have 415 office cubicles for employees, some of whom will transfer from Fort Wayne, Ind.

This time, though, officials favored a modern design from an architectural contest, Mr. Burrer said.

“We kind of took the point of high tech, ” he said.

In the office portion of the complex, a two-story structure facing I-475 with a curved glass front and that forms an “L” around the connecting laboratory area, contractors are putting on the finishing touches.

The building has 415 office cubicles, some of which are visible from the bypass beyond a pond that will have two fountains.

Landscapers have been scrambling to get as much planting done as possible before temperatures plunge.

Most of the construction work is completed, and contractors are installing utilities such as hydraulic piping and compressed air for equipment in the laboratory area, Mr. Burrer said.

The laboratory will have an area for making prototypes for axle gears, a task largely done in Dana factories now. Plus, the new complex will have a garage area where competitor products on various vehicles can be dismantled and analyzed.

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