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GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.—R.L. Adams Plastics Inc., a maker of polystyrene foam products for the food-service, food packaging and construction markets, is preparing to break ground this spring on an $8 million plant to handle anticipated growth in its insulation board business.

The Grand Rapids-based company is expanding primarily to increase capacity for an extruded PS foam product used as an underlay for vinyl siding applied to existing homes. The one-quarter-inch board, sold in 50-foot lengths, is fan-folded into a bundle. The product creates a firm foundation for new siding and also acts as an added layer of building insulation.

Of the 2.2 billion square feet of vinyl siding that is expected to be installed on existing homes this year, slightly more than half will be applied to some type of added underlying material, said Craig Adams, chief executive officer. Remodeling contractors and do-it-yourselfers are driving the growth of the company's construction products business.

``Those are the people we see as the target for our expansion,'' he said.

The company's new plant, situated on 40 acres of land, is scheduled to open in early 1998 in Wyoming, Mich., a suburb of Grand Rapids. Of the $8 million project cost, about $2.5 million is earmarked for new machinery, some of it built to Adams' proprietary design. The company, which now employs about 100, plans to add roughly 30 jobs when the new plant opens.

When the expansion is completed, Adams will close a small plant in the Grand Rapids area where it currently makes construction products. It will continue to operate a distribution center in the area and its existing plant and headquarters in Grand Rapids. Adams eventually may consolidate all facilities to the 40-acre Wyoming site.

The company was founded in 1978 and has grown steadily. Adams declined to disclose annual sales.