Just three years after building and moving into their distinctive 250,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Middleton, Wisconsin, ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.) is expanding again. The international entertainment- and architectural-lighting manufacturer is adding an estimated 78,000 square feet to the factory portion of the building, on its southern quadrant. An initial estimate of the project budget is $9 million. The groundbreaking is scheduled to take place in mid October.

According to Kobi Danke, building-project manager, the new footage will give Electronic Theatre Controls more manufacturing and warehousing space: “We continue to introduce new products requiring greater assembly space. We also recently brought surface-mount technology in house to manufacture our own PCB/circuit board technology, which required spatial adjustments. And we anticipate further increases in production to meet rising orders and demand. We simply need room to grow.”

The new-construction plans also include an expansion of the north parking lot; a larger receiving area with two more docks, plus a second UPS drive-up to handle and expedite increasing order traffic; as well as additional restrooms, storage areas, and a semi-enclosed patio for employee rest and outdoor gatherings.

According to Electronic Theatre Controls chief executive officer Fred Foster, who was central in the conception of ETC’s well-known and much-visited “Town Square” and the overall current headquarters, the new factory portion will also include innovative design. Among other things, ETC is planning to ramp up the environment-sustaining technologies in use, ensuring that any new design is “greener” than ever before.

“The new factory space, for example, will be engineered for daylight harvesting, with optimal window coverage,” says Foster. “The addition will use exterior and interior materials to match the existing building, including the light-reflective dry-shake finish on the factory floor. This floor, in combination with the increased natural lighting, will maintain the clean, bright, and open feel of the working environment.”

The expansion will be managed by the design-build firm Erdman Development Group, headed by Jerry Sholts and Frank Miller. The architects are David Braucht and Dan Zarnsdorf, of HDR Architecture, Inc. Work is set to begin with parking lot preparations in October. Completion of the full project is anticipated in late fall of 2008.