Schott's Future

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The closing of a Parkersburg glass manufacturing plant won't happen as soon as expected, but Schott Scientific Glass will cease operations by the end of this summer.

Schott, which had 190 employees at the time the closing was announced last October, produced borosilicate glass tubing for pharmaceutical and industrial use. It was supposed to be closed at the end of this month, but while it probably won't cease operations now until late August, there probably won't be any manufacturing there by mid-August.

The first of the plant's two melting tanks was shut off last week and the other is to be closed down on August 12. August 31 is the date Schott officials in New York state is aiming at, as the final day of plant operation. That will leave Wood County and the City of Parkersburg with an empty plant, one that has already been offered informally to prospective buyers.

"And as prospects come that we think may be a good fit for that," says Parkersburg Development Director Steve Brodsky, "we try to explain what the situation is, when it will be available, size and type of the facility, in an effort to put someone in there."

But Brodsky adds that Schott will still own the plant even after it is closed down and that plant may not be a good fit for everyone.

"Any older manufacturing site is going to be difficult to sell," Brodsky notes. "A lot of folks have new processes, and it’s not always easy to retrofit older plants to new processes."

Meanwhile, employment officials from West Virginia were supposed to be at the plant until the end of this week to provide assistance to laid-off plant workers. However, Schott has requested that assistance be extended through August.