Seventy new jobs have been added to Dublin's economy thanks to a renovation and expansion project at one of the city's West Innovation District facilities.

Seventy new jobs have been added to Dublin's economy thanks to a renovation and expansion project at one of the city's West Innovation District facilities.

The Nestle Quality Assurance Center in Dublin celebrated the conclusion of its $31 million investment with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour Aug. 10.

The project enables Nestle to conduct its testing independently and the center forecasts 10- to 15-percent job growth annually over the next five years.

The Nestle project nearly doubles the size of the facility to 82,000 square feet.

Improvements include an expanded microbiology lab and renovations to the chemistry lab and associated facilities.

Quality Assurance Center Director Aaron Ayres said the center grew from 150 to 220 jobs after the renovation was completed.

Most of those positions were technical, such as scientists or technicians for chemistry and microtesting, he said.

City Manager Dana McDaniel said Nestle is a great example of a company the city wants within the West Innovation District, especially with Ohio University's Dublin campus nearby.

"Those are very high-paying, technology-oriented jobs," McDaniel said.

"The realization of this lab and the renovation of the building is really the result of several years of work," he said.

Design for the project began in June 2012, Ayres said.

Cincinnati-based Hixson Engineering was the architect. Ruscilli Construction Co. served as general contractor, and the project was finished in April of this year.

Ayres said the center needed to do testing in its own labs instead of using external labs, which, he said, could be more profit- than quality-driven.

"We can ensure that the quality of the testing that's performed is of the highest level of food safety when we're doing it ourselves," Ayres said.

Using internal labs instead of off-site ones also has saved the company money, he said.

"We've saved $7 million over the past three years as a U.S. market after we put this laboratory in," Ayres said.

Roz O'Hearn, Nestle director of communication and brand affairs, said the center is on pace to reach 1 million tests this year.

The assurance center serves markets in the U.S., North America and to a lesser extent South America and the world, she said.

Although the facility had been the biggest quality assurance center within Nestle prior to the recent improvements, the renovations have allowed the facility to nearly double the amount of testing, Ayres said.

The ribbon-cutting event featured such speakers as Gov. John Kasich and Dublin Mayor Greg Peterson.

Peterson offered his congratulations to center officials on behalf of city officials.

"It is only when Dublin companies succeed that we as a city are able to succeed," Peterson said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah