EAGAN (AP) -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota expects to create at least 185 jobs in the next two years with a new customer service center on the Iron Range in Virginia.
The new center will go up next to a claims processing center Blue Cross opened earlier this year. The customer service center will be freestanding from the claims processing center, the company announced Monday.
The total project is expected to cost between $8.2 and $11.2 million, and Blue Cross is considering expanding the new building's capacity to support up to 330 employees if it can reach a financing deal for the added space.
The center could be opened as early as November, with groundbreaking scheduled for Spring 2003.
"It's wonderful," said Virginia Mayor Carolyn Gentilini. "What a gift -- especially at this time of the year."
Virginia and Waseca became the finalists for the center after a deal to purchase the former Sykes Enterprises building in Eveleth fell through last week.
Blue Cross' business unit had preferred Waseca because of its proximity to Blue Cross headquarters in Eagan, said Roger Kleppe, vice president of human resources. But when the Sykes deal collapsed, company officials decided to remain on the Iron Range, he said.
The majority of job openings will be for customer service representatives, starting at $12 an hour with full benefits. Other positions include clerical, technical, managers and supervisors.
Blue Cross built and opened a claims processing facility in Virginia earlier this year that employs 200.
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