Mathews Newark Ford Lincoln Mercury in Heath is adding a new collision center.

Mathews Newark Ford Lincoln Mercury in Heath is adding a new collision center.

"We're expanding another 4,200 square feet," said Larry Weiser, collision-center manager.

The dealership's existing collision center is 12,000 square feet and opened in 2001, Weiser said.

The new building will be built as a separate facility to the east of the existing collision center at Hopewell Drive and Industrial Parkway. Weiser said it will house a frame shop with two racks and a symmetric lift and will be able to handle vehicles with frame damage. Body work will be relegated to the existing building, which has 16 body-tech stalls, eight paint stalls, a wash bay and two other booths used for special coatings.

"This will open up six extra stalls for the body techs (technicians)," Weiser said.

Weiser said the body shop has stayed busy, repairing 35 to 45 cars per week.

"We're already working 10 hour shifts just to keep up," he said.

Weiser said even in a slow economy people still need their vehicles so their work has not slowed down.

Construction already has begun on the building. The dealership owns enough property for the project, and the land already is zoned for that use.

Weiser said Mathews aims to have the new building completed and opened by the end of September.

The dealership plans to hire at least two new people before the new frame shop opens.

Mathews has occupied the site since purchasing it from Walker & Battat in 1993.