LAURENS, S.C. (Feb. 18)—An arm of Michelin North America Inc. has acquired 253 acres of land next to its Laurens Proving Grounds to use in an expansion of its tire testing facilities. Michelin Americas Research and Development Corp. said the land cost slightly less than $1 million, and now increases the size of the proving grounds to 3,000 acres. Construction will begin in April and the new facilities should be ready for use in the first quarter of 2004, the company said. Michelin added two tracks in 1995 and 1997, and most recently built a classroom and visitors´ building, a spokesman said. The project isn´t expected to add jobs.