Caldwell steel-beam maker seeks air permit

The state Department of Environmental Quality has received a request for an air-quality permit for Gayle Manufacturing Co.’s planned steel plant just west of J.R. Simplot Co.'s new potato-processing plant in Caldwell.

Gayle employs more than 30 workers at its 17-year-old Nampa plant, where it receives raw steel beams via rail and fashions them into beams ready for use in commercial buildings. The company wants to expand production with the $25 million, 150,000-square-foot plant on 50 acres at the southwest corner of Weitz Road and Highway 19.

Founder and Chief Financial Officer Jim DeBlasio opened Gayle’s original plant in 1976 in Woodland, Calif., near Sacramento. The new Caldwell plant would replace the California operation with more modern equipment, doubled capacity and room to grow. The Nampa plant would continue operating.

Gayle welds and machines the beams to fit specifications for each project. Most of its work is for buildings in California, though Gayle machined the beams for the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Design and project management is done in Nampa.

Gayle has said its 71 California employees will be offered a chance to relocate to Canyon County. DeBlasio said the company will replace any employees who don't relocate from California, then hire 20 to 40 additional workers over the next two years.

DeBlasio said in November that the new plant’s jobs would pay well, with compensation, including health and retirement benefits, averaging about $82,000 per employee per year, and the minimum package about $62,000.

The company said the plant will burn natural gas, generate dust through abrasive blasting and welding, and use paint outdoors for coating beams. The air-permit application is available on DEQ’s website. A public comment period will be provided if a written request is submitted by 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 to Tanya Chin, Air Quality Division, DEQ State Office, 1410 N. Hilton St., Boise 83706,