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BLUE SPRINGS, MISS. (WCBI) – There was a stage full of dignitaries for the celebration, but Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said the real credit goes to team members who make Toyota Corollas everyday at the Blue Springs plant.

“We thank you for being the best Toyota team in the world,” Gov. Bryant said.

Ten years ago this month, Toyota broke ground on its Blue Springs plant. The recession of 2008 put a temporary halt on plans, but once the economy picked up momentum, work on the plant facility continued.

In late 2011, the first Corolla came off the line and things have been full speed ahead ever since.

“This plant in Blue Springs Mississippi has been incredible successful and is a key cog in the overall strategy for Toyota in the United States,” said Chris Nielsen, of Toyota North America.

During the ceremony, Toyota also announced donations totaling $350,000, for the National Center for Families Learning and to Mississippi Best,  a robotics program at MSU.

Another highlight of the celebration, the announcement that a $10,000,000,  15,000 square foot interactive training and visitors center will be built right here.

“What’s really nice is they get to go inside and tour the plant and most people have a negative image of manufacturing in that it’s dirty and dark but our plant is spotless and very bright and vibrant, especially with the Mississippi workers we have,” said Mike Botkin, of TMMMS.

Workers such as Tony and Nina Willis.  The husband and wife team has found satisfying careers at the Blue Springs plant.

“We both grew up not too far from here, in west Tennessee area.  Impact is not only in North Mississippi it extends all the way into the West Tennessee area, this part of the country, Toyota is a very good company to work for,” Tony Willis said.

Later this year, team members will see the 1 millionth Corolla rolling off the assembly line.

That visitor’s center will be opened in 2019, but plant tours will start next month.

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