By Tim Cherry, Belvoir EagleJanuary 19, 2012
Davison Army Airfield's new control tower appears to be a dynamic upgrade as construction of the facility draws closer to completion.
The Army has worked with several Military branches and private contractors to design the facility being built by Amatea/Grimber, a joint venture construction partnership, and overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The facility now stands at 147 feet tall, dwarfing the airfield's current tower which stands at 74 feet.
The construction project broke ground March 2011 and project managers hope to have the $8 million building completed by the summer of 2012.
"It's going to be a state of the art facility," said David Arroyo, Air Traffic Services chief.
DAA's original tower has been in use for about 60 years but Arroyo said the facility can no longer support the required space and height for management to fulfill its mission.
"It's beyond its life cycle," Arroyo said.
The new facility will house administrative offices, a radar room, a training room, tower cab and an elevator servicing the building.
The new tower is designed to continue operations in winds up to 90 knots while the current facility can only handle 40 knot winds before a mandatory evacuation is ordered.
The tower's height offers a superior vantage point which will allow control tower personnel increased visibility in every direction.
Dale Walters, Air Traffic Control Systems and Maintenance manager and DAA historian, said the increased visibility gives personnel the opportunity to be more effective.
"It's critical to the operation. They need to be able to see," said Walters. "It's about height, it's about getting up in the sky."
DAA was built in 1945 and the airport has grown in size and tenants during the last 67 years.
The facility houses a variety of fixed wing and rotary aircraft with missions including transporting congressman, emergency response and space available shuttle service for retirees to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va.
Most of the equipment in the current tower ranges from the 1970s to present day and management is moving most of the gear into the new facility.
Once the new tower is completed the current facility will be torn down.