A groundbreaking ceremony is held Monday in Skowhegan marking the start of a $65 million expansion of the New Balance manufacturing facility. From left: New Balance President and CEO Joe Preston; U.S. Sen. Angus King; U.S. Sen. Susan Collins; Maine Gov. Janet Mills; Anne Davis, the wife of New Balance Chairman Jim Davis; Davis; and New Balance Chief Operating Officer Dave Wheeler. Photo courtesy of David Bates

SKOWHEGAN — New Balance officials announced Monday at a ceremony marking the start of the company’s $65 million expansion of its Skowhegan manufacturing operations that it will contribute $250,000 toward development of an early learning center for children.

The center is to be incorporated as part of the $75 million consolidated elementary school being built on Heselton Street, and is expected to provide affordable child care and prekindergarten education for 160 Skowhegan-area children. It will be operated by the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, according to officials.

“New Balance has always been strongly committed to the communities where our associates live and work,” Raye Wentworth, New Balance’s director of domestic manufacturing, said in a statement to the news media. “We’re thrilled to be able to support this important opportunity to add quality, affordable education and child care resources for local families.”

The contribution from New Balance brings the amount raised for the child care center to about $2.7 million, said Sam Hight, chairman of the fundraising committee for the project.

About $2.5 million of that total has been funded by businesses in the area that are looking to invest in their workforce, he said.

“We’ve got TimberHP adding 120 jobs in Madison, we got New Balance adding 200 jobs in Skowhegan,” Hight said Monday. “We have to have child care available for new families moving to the area.”


The New Balance contribution, coupled with a $1.9 million federal grant, has led officials to push to raise $5 million, rather than the original $3 million, so the child care and early learning center can be built without being a financial burden on taxpayers.

Construction of the early learning center and elementary school is expected to be completed in the fall of 2025.

The announcement was made Monday as Gov. Janet Mills, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, New Balance executives and others gathered to break ground on a 120,000-square-foot, single-story expansion to the athletic footwear manufacturing facility at 17 Walnut St. in Skowhegan.

The expansion, which was announced in December, will double the staffing and output of the facility, bringing 200 new jobs to the area, according to New Balance President Joe Preston. The company now employs 780 people at its three Maine facilities in Skowhegan, Norridgewock and Norway.

New Balance is planning a $65 million expansion of its manufacturing facility in Skowhegan. The rendering above shows how the new wing would look. About 200 jobs would be added as part of the plan and the company could double its production to more than a million pairs of shoes. New Balance photo

“(The expanded facility) allows us to increase our U.S. footwear production and bring jobs to Skowhegan families,” New Balance Chief Operating Officer Dave Wheeler said.

The company was credited Monday for its commitment to domestic manufacturing and to investing in its Maine workforce.


“American manufacturing is important, American jobs are important,” King said. “I think what’s happening here today is an indicator of what’s to come. I think we’re entering a new stage of renewed manufacturing.”

Added Collins, “You’ve kept the ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ label alive and thriving.”

The contractor on the New Balance expansion project is Green Leaf Construction of Leominster, Massachusetts.

John Campbell, New Balance’s vice president of corporate services, told the Morning Sentinel the project is expected to be completed in August 2024, with manufacturing at the new space beginning the following November.

“Everything is moving pretty well right now,” Campbell said.

Some digging and work on utilities are scheduled to begin next week, he said, but the company is awaiting a final permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

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