Rick Dawson, Bal Seal president, details plans Thursday for the company's new 155,000-square foot manufacturing plant in northern Colorado Springs.

Bal Seal Engineering Inc. broke ground Thursday on a 155,000 square-foot manufacturing plant that promises 200 jobs in the next two years.

Local and state government officials, local business leaders, small business owners and Bal Seal employees celebrated at the 18-acre site, off InterQuest Parkway and Federal Drive in northern Colorado Springs.

The project was seven years in the making and those in the know were sworn to secrecy as it developed. The manufacturing facility, where machinists and engineers will make custom-engineered seals and connectors used in the medical and aerospace industries, is expected to open in 18 months.

“Colorado Springs is a great city and Bal Seal just made it greater,” said Mayor Steve Bach.

Bal Seal arrived in Colorado Springs seven years ago and took up space in a warehouse off Garden of the Gods Road. About 60 employees work there now.

Over the years, the plans for a permanent plant changed, and for local general contractor Scott Bryan, that was a good thing. The proposal grew from 50,000 square-feet to 155,000 square-feet. His firm, Bryan Construction, will build the  plant, which will get 75 percent of its light from ambient light. It will also include picnic areas, a playground and a fitness trail for employees.

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Bal Seal has a plant in southern California. Last year, the company’s sales were about $85 million. President and CEO Rick Dawson said with the new facility, the company is on track to double revenue in the next five years.