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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.

Champion DogStar Kitchens was also awarded the 2019 Martha Layne Collins Governor's Award for Excellence in International Trade by the World Trade Center Kentucky.

Project Facts

  • Building features:
    • Structural precast shell, conventional steel roof
    • Floor construction consists of slab on grade, rebar reinforcement
    • Wall construction consists of structural precast, 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