Ford airport breaks ground on $7.7 million operation center

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The 11,600-square-foot facility will consolidate the airport’s operations and communications, including dispatch, and it will serve as the new emergency operations center. Courtesy Gerald R. Ford International Airport

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport broke ground Wednesday on a $7.7 million operation center on the east side of the airfield.

The 11,600-square-foot facility will consolidate the airport’s operations and communications, including dispatch, and it will serve as the new emergency operations center (EOC). The EOC will be activated during an emergency at the airport, and it can support public safety agencies in Kent County. The second phase of the project is to expand the center to include its fire department.

“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 operation center will be staffed 24/7. It will house a data center, video walls and special document review spaces, office, conference and break spaces. The building will be able to sustain harsh weather conditions, including up to 250 mph winds.

“The teams who will occupy this space are critical for our daily operations,” said Tory Richardson, president and CEO of the 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.”

The Ford airport is working with Rep. Peter Meijer’s office to get community project funding for a portion of the project.

DLZ of Michigan is serving as the project architect and Pioneer Construction of Grand Rapids is serving as the general contractor. They are 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 on the project is expected to be completed by the end of June 2022.

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