ROANOKE -- Gov. Gerald Baliles announced plans last week for new high-tech plants that will bring 150 jobs to Roanoke and up to 500 jobs to Bedford County.

"Evidence mounts that Virginia's economic growth has never been stronger, and as a result, more Virginians than ever have jobs," Baliles said in announcing that Monroe, Conn.-based Vitramon Inc. will build a $13 million Roanoke plant to manufacture ceramic chip capacitors for the electronics industry.

Baliles then went to Lynchburg to announce that Sturbridge, Mass.-based Galileo Electro-Optics Corp. would open a fiberoptic and electro-optic component plant in the Bedford County community of Forest. Although Galileo has made no formal commitment to come to Forest, just outside of Lynchburg, Baliles said corporate officials were expected to do so this week.

"There's a formal ratification that must take place, but we wouldn't be there if we weren't happy about it," Baliles said.

Galileo President William T. Hanley said: "The company is preparing to make a recommendation regarding locating a manufacturing operation in Beford County next year to the board of directors, subject to the resolution of final details with Crestar Bank and officials of Bedford County.

"We have not made a final decision at this time," Hanley's statement said.

The Virginia Department of Economic Development said Galileo's plant would employ from 50 to 100 people upon opening, and from 400 to 500 would be at work when the plant reaches full operation.

Vitramon plans to open its Roanoke plant next year, with 85 workers hired at start-up and up to 150 expected to be put on the payroll after a year, company officials said today.