The new Bennett Collision Center is set to debut behind the Bennett Toyota on Lehigh Street in Allentown.
After expanding from 8,000 square feet to 14,500 square feet, the collision center addition will nearly double the size of the Hanover Avenue building. It will also double the capacity of work the shop will be able to handle.
Manager Robert Shade said the old shop could repair an average of 20 to 25 vehicles per week. The new collision center should be able to handle up to 50 vehicles per week – depending on the size and scope of the work.
Shade said the new facility couldn't have come at a better time. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the shop has remained extremely busy as motorists seek to have major and minor repairs from storm damage.
The new collision center features a state-of-the-art, $150,000 frame-straightening system. There are also multiple paint chambers where water-based car paint can be applied and dried on more than one car at a time.
"Everything is brand new," said Shade, who pointed to new tool boxes and parts racks as well as vacuum and venting systems that have been built into the collision repair area.
Even the office space is new and expanded, with four desks that can be used by estimators, insurance adjustors and other professionals.
Shade said construction on the roughly $2.8 million collision center began in June and is opening the first week in January. The work was done by North Star Construction of Allentown.
While it is on the Bennett Toyota property, the shop is equipped to handle all makes and models of vehicles.