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Auburn, Ky.
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Champion Petfoods Inc. selected Gray to provide design-build services on their DogStar® Kitchens in Kentucky, the company’s first specialty pet food operation in the U.S. Purpose-built from the ground up to advance Champion’s Biologically Appropriate™, Fresh Regional Ingredient and Never Outsourced mission, the 371,000 s.f. operation features custom-designed kitchens for their award-winning dog and cat food brands, ACANA and ORIJEN.

In order to further their mandate and keep up with growing demand in the U.S. and Latin America, Champion also added a third production line to DogStar® Kitchens. In addition to earning Safe Quality Food (SQF) and Safe Feed/Safe Food (SFSF) certifications, Champion’s DogStar® Kitchens won one of the highest food safety achievements in the world—the Global Market Program Award from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) also recognized Gray Construction with a national design-build award in the Industrial, Process and/or Research Facilities category as well as the award for Excellence in Teaming for DogStar® Kitchens.

Project Facts

  • Building features:
    • Structural pre-cast shell, conventional steel roof
    • Floor construction consists of slab on grade, rebar reinforcement
    • Wall construction consists of structural pre-cast, insulated metal panels
  • Designed to meet the food safety and track and trace standards of the human food processing industry

  • Employs Clean In Place (CIP) throughout, an automated cleaning system which ensures the proper time, temperature and turbulence for cleaning

  • Connection through Allen Bradley hard and software systems allows all cooking data from start to finish to be displayed in the kitchen control center in real time

  • The DogStar® track and trace system tracks ingredients at each location of use and stores all information in a two-dimensional package code, which can be traced back to an individual farm or ingredient supplier

  • Kitchens feature a custom-built thermal twin extruder that is the first of its kind in North America

  • Located on an 85-acre site, 30 acres of which are devoted to kitchen operations. The remaining property will stay primarily undisturbed, and feature walking paths and pet exercise spaces

  • 14-month schedule

Services Provided by Gray:

  • Automation Systems Integration
  • Site Selection
  • Architecture
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Process Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Construction Management
  • Equipment Procurement
  • Equipment Installation