McGhee Tyson Airport maintenance center complete; facility planned since 1990s
By Robert Norris | (email@example.com)
The event was big, no doubt about that.
Alongside a massive snow removal vehicle and other oversized maintenance equipment, and using giant scissors to cut a huge ribbon, VIPs celebrated completion of the new McGhee Tyson Airport Maintenance Center Wednesday in its cavernous 27,000-square-foot bay.
The ceremony capped off a process that really started in the early 1990s when Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority staff began planning to build a maintenance facility to replace a structure built in 1982.
Then came postponement after postponement as other projects took priority in funding, including the new terminal building completed in 2000.
The new AMC facility combines the maintenance and operations departments in one 68,000-square-foot building.
The project is not completely closed; with $17 million spent on the project, there are still some punch list items to be completed. But thanks to value engineering, it looks like the price tag for the building will come in below the original $19 million estimate for design and construction costs.
Built for efficiency
Howard Vogel, chairman of the MKAA Board of Commissioners, praised airport staff and the new structure that replaces several buildings on the airport campus.
“This facility was designed so that we could bring them all together into one very large structure, and also park the snow equipment so that they could have a more efficient opportunity to discharge their obligations to make this the wonderful airport that it is,” he said.
Vogel noted that the new building incorporated technology important for operational as well as planning and training reasons.
U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. characterized McGhee Tyson as the cleanest airport in the U.S. and lauded the people who work to maintain it.
“It’s certainly a wonderful thing to have this new facility here, and I’m glad that we were able to help some on this and a lot of other things,” Duncan said.
Designed for LEED
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero pointed out that the modern structure is accessible to people with disabilities and mobility impairments and that it should qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification.
The building uses LED lighting. It has pervious pavement outside to allow for the movement of storm water through the surface and reduces runoff. It collects and distributes rainwater to supplement landscaping and hardscaping through the use of cisterns on the roof lines that capture HVAC condensate as well as rain. In addition, the building uses geothermal wells and water source heat pumps to lower energy costs.
“This is not just good for the environment, it makes good business sense as well to save resources and to lower our bills,” Rogero said.
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett also praised the cost benefits of the structure’s technologies and centralized use of space.
“The new maintenance center will help increase efficiency in the airport’s operation by combining operations under one roof,” Burchett said.
Vogel said the new AMC will contribute to the overall operation of the airport, which is a critical asset to the region.
“I’m extraordinarily proud at the effort that happens minute to minute at this facility to make it the wonderful gateway to our area and the Smokies that it is. This is a key and important part of why this is a great place to live, a great place to visit, and a wonderful place to do business.”