GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Gerald R. Ford International Airport broke ground Wednesday morning on a new, $7.7 million operations center that officials say will streamline and improve efficiencies for day-to-day management.
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The new facility will consolidate several teams like operations and communications – including dispatch – as well as the new emergency operations center (EOC), according to a news release.
The EOC is activated during an emergency at Ford Airport and can also support public safety agencies throughout Kent County.
Officials say the 11,600-square-foot facility will become the “lifeline” of the airport.
Located on the east side of the airfield, the building will be accessible air-side and public-side, making it ideal to provide daily operations support and reachable during an emergency.
In a second phase, the airport plans to expand the center to include its fire department at the site.
“This project represents the culmination of years of efforts to realign and streamline our operations and public safety functions,” said Dan Koorndyk, board chair of the Gerald R. Ford Airport Authority. “By bringing our teams under one roof, we’ll be able to ensure we are providing the best possible service to our guests, tenants and the greater West Michigan community.”
The building will be staffed 24/7 and will be built to withstand extreme weather conditions, including winds up to 250 miles per hour.
It will have “purposeful redundancies in technologies and communication channels” to ensure services continue during an emergency.
The facility will also include a data center, video walls and special document review spaces, as well as inviting office, conference and break spaces for employees.
“The teams who will occupy this space are critical for our daily operations,” said Tory Richardson, president and CEO of the Ford Airport Authority. “This new operations center will enhance communication, collaboration and efficiencies for our teams. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide the high-quality service and exceptional track record the Ford Airport is known for.”
DLZ of Michigan is serving as the project architect with Pioneer Construction of Grand Rapids serving as the general contractor.
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of June 2022.
Officials are pursuing community project funding for a portion of the project.