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Kingsford class tours LP Sagola facility

SOME OF THE team at Louisiana-Pacific’s Sagola mill, meeting with an environmental science class from Kingsford High School. From left, seated in front are students Lauren Lewandowski, Callie Alwine, Faith Wedin, Nick Roell, Thomas Maynard, Hunter Giesau and Elizin Rouse. In back are LP Sagola Resource Manager Kris Gray, Lucas Perry, Eli Peterson, Jared Johnson, David Nanninga, Julia Bradley, Luke Lockhart, teacher Bob Martonen, Chris Sweig, Hunter Hulkkonen, Luke Machus, Henry Strom, LP Sagola Area Supervisor Robert Kellner and Sagola LP production supervisor Greg Johnson. (Submitted photo)

SAGOLA TOWNSHIP — Louisiana-Pacific’s Sagola mill recently hosted Kingsford High School’s environmental science class for an in-depth tour of the mill complex on M-95 in Sagola Township.

To begin the day, the group — which consisted of 17 students, teacher Bob Martonen and a school bus driver — toured the mill’s log yard.

The group continued to the mill, where they were equipped with personal protective equipment and given a safety presentation before touring the facility, according to a news release from the company.

The day ended with a question-and-answer session with LP Sagola team members — and some LP swag to take home, according to the company.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the mill’s conversion from manufacturing oriented strand board to siding, LP Sagola hosted the class every spring. This was the mill’s first tour with the class since 2020.

THE TEAM AT Louisiana-Pacific’s Sagola mill had a question-and-answer session with the Kingsford High School environmental science class after touring the complex. (Submitted photo)

The tour allows students to see the products that are manufactured in their own backyard while also connecting their classroom education to the real world.

“It’s important that we share our positive, environmentally responsible story with our community,” said Kris Gray, LP Sagola resource manager. “This tour was a perfect opportunity to show local students how we protect our environment while making beautiful and sustainable products.”

Teacher Martonen echoed those words, saying “It was important for this KHS environmental science class to see where trees from their forestry studies are used in the manufacture of wood products at the LP Sagola facility.”

LP Building Solutions in 2022 began converting its Sagola mill from manufacturing oriented strand board to production of its flagship product, an engineered wood trim and siding called LP SmartSide. The company states that SmartSide, which it has produced for more than two decades, combines the look of traditional wood with the durability of engineered wood.

It first began producing LP SmartSide products in Sagola in March 2023.

The Sagola facility was chosen because it offered good proximity to rail and utility infrastructure, a stable supply of wood resources, and a strong workforce, industry officials stated at the time.

The Sagola project was the second phase of LP’s plans to expand siding production.

Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., LP has 4,800 employees worldwide, including about 150 at Sagola, where it opened its OSB mill in 1988.

LP was founded in 1972, and operates 25 plants across the U.S., Canada, Chile and Brazil.

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