Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 30, 2021 – The Gerald R. Ford International Airport today broke ground on a new $7.7 million operations center that will streamline and improve efficiencies for day-to-day management.
The new facility will consolidate key teams such as operations and communications, including dispatch, as well as the new emergency operations center, or EOC. The EOC is activated during an emergency at the Ford Airport and can also support public safety agencies throughout Kent County.
According to officials, 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 Ford 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 user-friendly building, which will be staffed 24/7, 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.
Special attention has been given to creating a space that is both functional and pleasant to work in. The facility will include a data center, video walls and special document review spaces, as well as inviting office, conference and break spaces.
“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 safety 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. They will be supported by Cripps Fontaine Excavating Inc., CS Erickson, Forman Glass, Gale Plumbing & Hydronics Inc., Level 5 Commercial Finishing, Metal Tech Building Specialists, SecurAlarm, VanLaan Concrete Construction, Van Dyken Mechanical, Van Dellen Steel and Westmaas Electric. The building will be furnished by Haworth through Interphase. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of June 2022.
The Ford Airport is working with Rep. Peter Meijer’s office to pursue community project funding for a portion of the project. The Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff’s Office and the Grand Rapids Police Department have all voiced their support for the project, highlighting that it will be a critical backup base in case of a county-wide emergency.
About the Ford Airport
The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is the second busiest airport in Michigan, serving business and leisure travelers with nonstop and connecting flights on six airlines. The Ford Airport is managed and operated by the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. For more information, visit www.flyford.org or follow the airport on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @FlyGRFord.
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