Stellar's latest design-build project for Bell & Evans is an innovative and modern poultry plant unlike any other in the industry — so impressive, in fact, that FOOD ENGINEERING magazine recently named it the 2022 Food Plant of the Year. The $360 million organic-certified chicken harvesting facility features cutting-edge automation technology, high-end European design finishes, numerous sustainability considerations and a process that prioritizes animal welfare.
The award-winning 411,500-square-foot plant is located in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania, just one mile from Bell & Evans’ world-first organic-certified, animal-welfare-focused chicken hatchery and award-winning packaging, storage and processing facility, both designed and constructed by Stellar. The new chicken harvesting facility is the largest project Stellar has completed for Bell & Evans to date.
Stellar's multimillion-dollar project scope included architectural design, construction, process utilities, refrigeration and thermal services. The firm also constructed a nearby offal building to support process operations. Before the plant's construction could begin in earnest, a significant amount of master planning and earthwork was conducted to prepare the 112-acre site.
"This project required an immense level of coordination and communication between our teams, subcontractors, equipment manufacturers and client representatives," said Stellar project manager Nathan Edwards. "Not only did the pandemic force a transition to new job site requirements and remote work, but we also designed this facility completely in 3D, including equipment placement. Effectively managing this degree of real-time coordination was key to the project's success."
Construction began in March 2020, and despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the design teams and other crews transitioned seamlessly without schedule sacrifices.
“It was our goal to never use the pandemic as an excuse for schedule delays as we worked to bring Scott Sechler’s vision for the next stage of the business to life. Stellar matched our commitment to accomplish this project, despite the obstacles that emerged amid the pandemic,” said Mike Bracrella, chief operating officer, Bell & Evans. “The Stellar team adapted, overcame and kept the project moving forward."
Stellar is a fully integrated design, engineering, construction, refrigeration and mechanical services firm serving commercial, industrial and public sector markets across the United States and around the world. More than 800 Stellar employees worldwide create award-winning food processing plants, refrigerated warehouses, distribution centers, commercial buildings and military facilities. In addition to its Jacksonville, Florida, headquarters, Stellar operates nearly 50 support locations and offices throughout the United States, China and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The company also serves Central and South America, Europe and India.