Ford Airport breaks ground on new $7.7 million facility

Kent County

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Gerald R. Ford International Airport broke ground Wednesday on its new operations center.

The $7.7 million facility will hold multiple teams, including operations, communications and dispatch, the airport said in a release.

It will also hold the new emergency operations center, which is activated during an emergency at the airport or to help Kent County agencies.

“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 the release. “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 11,600 square-foot facility will be staffed 24/7 and will be built to withstand extreme weather, including winds up to 250 miles per hour, the airport said. It will be accessible both on the air-side and the public-side of the airport.

Construction of the building is expected to be done by the end of June 2022.

The center will later be expanded to include the airport’s fire department.

“This really does fit in consistent with our airport master plan,” Ford Airport President and CEO Tory Richardson said at the groundbreaking. “As you know and most people who go through airports know, it seems like we’re always under construction, and we really are. We plan 40 years out and then we’re actually doing that construction year-to-year, every year, developing consistent with that plan, which is really identified based on what are the needs and how do you accommodate those needs for the future. And so this project is right in line with that, and that’s why I mentioned the first phase is that next step and the ultimate phase is to have aircraft rescue firefighting facility right here, as well.”

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