GATESVILLE — The Laerdal Medical Corporation plant in Gatesville was designated as a reinvestment zone to enable the company to seek tax abatement for a proposed $1.75 million expansion/renovation and $650,000 in new equipment, County Judge John Firth told the Coryell County Economic Development Board on Monday.
The Gatesville City Council approved the zone change last week.
In 2000, Laerdal merged with Medical Plastics Laboratory, a 50-year-old local company with a production plant at 226 Farm-to-Market 116. The plant’s 200 employees make high-tech mannequins for medical training.
“Some of our buildings are worn out and will be replaced with new construction,” Ramon Sosa, manufacturing director for the Norway-based company’s plants in Gatesville and Monterey, Mexico, said in a December interview.
Both city and county governments use tax abatement to encourage economic growth.
Typically, the abatement schedule reduces the company’s property taxes on a graduated scale over up to 10 years.
The team at the Gatesville plant assemble about 20 variations of sophisticated mannequins used for medical and first aid training by hospitals, the military and the Red Cross.
The Gatesville plant also provides research and development, tooling design and rapid prototyping of new products, Marcia Hoge, Laerdal controller, said in December.
Some of the mannequins contain sophisticated electronics allowing users to use computer software to customize scenarios to meet an assortment of training needs.
The company was asked to develop mannequins to simulate amputations and wounds and symptoms from chemical and biological weapons.
Striving to keep pace in “a huge competitive market” of medical training devices, Laerdal is adapting its products to ever-changing needs, Hoge said. Renovating the Gatesville plant is part of that process.