HICKORY, N.C., June 20 -- Corning Cable Systems plans to build a manufacturing facility next to its Telecommunications Cable Plant in Hickory, N.C. The new 250,000 square foot facility will produce flame retardant optical fiber cable. The structure will be finished by the middle of 2001 and will employ about 300 people. Corning Cable Systems is broadening its manufacturing capacity to keep up with increased demand in the fiber optic market and to encourage new product development and commercialization, the company said. This new facility will be instrumental in Corning Cable Systems' ability to meet increasing demand for flame retardant cables used in public and private networks, as well as OEM applications, said Thomas J. McMahon, vice president of manufacturing and cable operations. This construction is necessary to the growth of our business as we maintain a quality commitment to offer a portfolio of products and unparalleled customer service.