Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will build a distribution center in Hurricane that could employ up to 500 people by 1995, company officials announced Wednesday.

The "softlines" distribution center will employ 300 workers when it opens in late 1993. The center will provide basic and seasonal clothing and shoes to regional distribution centers in Colorado and California.Construction of the $30 million facility is expected to begin early next year, and the center should be open for business by the end of 1993.

"The company's commitment to Hurricane is one of partnership and growth in Utah and the West," said H. Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's senior vice president of logistics. "Wal-Mart looks forward to becoming a vital and integral part of the southern Utah community."

Gov. Norm Bangerter lauded state and local government officials for working in concert to bring the distribution center to southern Utah. The project was a combined effort of the Five Counties Association of Governments, the Washington County Board of Commissioners, Hurricane city officials and the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

"Wal-Mart's business savvy and growth have gained significant attention nationally. I believe the decision to select Utah and Hur-ricane will contribute to their continued success. It will also send another positive message about the benefits of doing business in our state," Bangerter said in a prepared statement.

The distribution facility, more than 1 million square feet in size, will be located on 200 acres adjacent to Interstate 15 via Exit 27 and U-9.

The building will store more than 2 million cases of merchandise during normal operation. The center have more than 3 miles of mechanized conveyor lines throughout the building.

A 15,600 square-foot truck maintenance facility also will be built at the site. The maintenance center will service up to 150 semi-truck tractors and 900 trailers that will transport goods to the distribution centers the Hurricane center serves.

Wal-Mart operates 20 distribution centers, 1,792 Wal-Mart stores (including 10 in Utah) and 236 SAM'S Clubs in 44 states and Puerto Rico. Wal-Mart common stock trades on the New York and Pacific exchanges.