GRAND RAPIDS — The Gerald R. Ford International Airport broke ground today on a $7.7 million operations center meant to serve as a “lifeline” by streamlining day-to-day operations and providing support in emergencies.
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The new 11,600-square-foot facility will consolidate daily operations and communications, including dispatch and a new emergency operations center, or EOC. The EOC can support public safety agencies throughout Kent County.
The new facility is located on the east side of the airfield and is planned to be accessible from the airport and to the public.
Airport officials called the addition a “lifeline” that’s expected to be expanded to include the airport’s fire department.
“This project represents the culmination of years of efforts to realign and streamline our operations and public safety functions,” Dan Koorndyk, board chair of the Gerald R. Ford Airport Authority, said in a statement. “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.”
DLZ Corp. is the project architect while Pioneer Construction Co. serves as the general contractor. Supporting contractors are Cripps Fontaine Excavating Inc., CS Erickson, Forman Glass LLC, Gale Plumbing & Hydronics Inc., Level 5 Commercial Finishing LLC, Metal Tech Building Specialists Inc., SecurAlarm LLC, VanLaan Concrete Construction Inc., Van Dyken Mechanical Inc., Van Dellen Steel Inc. and Westmaas Electric Co.. The building will be furnished by Haworth Inc. through its dealer Interphase Interiors Inc. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of June 2022.
The airport is working with U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer’s office to pursue community project funding for a portion of the operations center, officials said. The Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff’s Office and the Grand Rapids Police Department have voiced support for the project and said it will be critical in cases of county-wide emergencies.
“The teams who will occupy this space are critical for our daily operations,” airport President and CEO Tory Richardson said in a statement. “This new operations center will enhance communication, collaboration and efficiency 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.”