By ERIC SCHAADT
BLUFFTON — A significant expansion that started last year at a Bluffton industry is expected to be finished this summer.
Grob Systems, which makes manufacturing equipment for the auto industry, is in the midst of a $14 million expansion project.
A 45,918-square-foot building is being constructed south of its plant, just east of Interstate 75 and south of Ohio 103.
According to company officials, the three-story expansion will include additional office space, a common area and conference rooms.
“The new building will feature an open floor plan and flexible workspace designed to help foster greater collaboration, innovation and creativity,” Grob stated.
Grob has about 560 employees, and hiring at the facility continues, according to the company.
Grob Systems manufactures predominantly for the automotive industry, but it also produces equipment for the aerospace, mold and die industries and for the production of medical instruments.
Grob Systems is a subsidiary of Grob-Werke GmbH & Co. of Mindelheim, Germany. The Grob Group includes manufacturing facilities in Germany, Brazil, the United States and China.
Also in Bluffton, exterior masonry work at the village hall was done last summer.
Improvements to West Elm Street included replacing a water main, fire hydrants and water service lines. Starting next month, additional work on that street calls for new sidewalks, curbs, street pavement, catch basins and adding a tree lawn.
On Jefferson Street, plans call for replacing the storm sewer, street pavement, curb and sidewalk. A new waterline is being planned for a segment of Jefferson Street.
Plans also call for replacing a bridge over Riley Creek on Ohio 103.
A significant project in Bluffton last year was a bicycle/pedestrian pathway extension near Bentley Road.
This $167,538 project was made possible by Bluffton Council, pathway officials and the Bluffton Lions Club.
The village of Bluffton received an award for floral displays from the 2018 America in Bloom National Awards program.
During a two-day judging period last July, AIB representatives rated the village on overall impression, environmental awareness, heritage preservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas and floral displays.
According to the Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce, various business achievements were noted in 2018.
The Centre at Bluffton hosted seven “Foodie Tuesday” events from May through August. Various food trucks displayed their wares in the building’s parking lot.
Bluffton Family Recreation opened a Mercy Health Fitness Studio in August at its facility on Snider Road.
The 2,500-square-foot studio provides additional room for aerobics classes with TRX equipment, kettlebells, Bosu balance balls and medicine balls.
Last fall, Wonderfully Made Boutique opened at 101 N. Main St.
The Frosting Studio, 142 E. Jefferson St., was started to provide cake decorating classes.
Dan and Betsy Lee opened the Board & Brush art studio at 562 N. Main St. last November.
And Wessler Engineering has moved into a commercial building near Interstate 75.
For the tenth time in its 119-year history, Bluffton University last year named a new president, Jane M. Wood.
The university has moved its Welcome Center to the front door of the campus. The Houshower House now serves as the university’s first point of contact for visitors and prospective students. The building previously housed alumni relations offices.
The university now offers a pre-engineering major for students to prepare for an engineering career.
Also, a 3+1 Educator Preparation program allows elementary education majors or intervention specialist majors to obtain their teaching license and complete their bachelor’s degree in three years.
Following graduation, those students will move into the master of arts in education program.