The construction of the Oakland County International Airport’s (OCIA) new “green” terminal is gaining ground in an effort to replace the existing building which has been in service for over half a century.
Work on the new terminal began in the spring of 2009 and the building is expected to open this summer.
Due to a series of problems with the current terminal building, such as single pane windows, evidence of asbestos, and a leaky roof, Oakland County officials determined that it warranted replacement.
“It’s over 60-years-old and obsolete and worn out,” said J. David VanderVeen, Oakland County’s director of central services. “If not for this fact, we wouldn’t have started this project in the first place.”
The new terminal will be constructed on the same site as the existing building. Upon completion, it will actually be smaller in terms of square footage — about 13,500 square feet as opposed to 17,000 square feet — but used more efficiently.
The new terminal’s exterior is framed and the interior has been roughed in enough for crews to work during inclement weather.
“They are still roughing in the interior as opposed to finished carpentry and the ventilation system is still under construction,” VanderVeen said.
The “green” terminal will be one of the first of its kind in the country for a general aviation airport. Oakland International is the 16th busiest general aviation airport in the U.S. and the second busiest airport in the state behind Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
“When somebody lands at the airport we leave an impression, whether that’s good or bad,” VanderVeen said. “OCIA is the aviation gateway to the county from the world. We tout ourselves as a high-tech modern county and want the terminal to reflect that image.”
The new eco-friendly terminal will incorporate wind power-generating technology to offset electrical power use; LED interior lamps; wind turbine solar powered signage; solar hot water heating; geothermal power; and a rain water system for landscape irrigation.
Materials used in the building construction will contain recycled content, and materials from the demolished building will be recycled whenever possible.
Neumann Smith Architecture of Southfield designed the new terminal, with Frank Rewold and Sons acting as the project’s construction managers.
“Thus far they are doing an excellent job,” VanderVeen said.
The county is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification through the United States Green Building Council as a means of recognition.
“It’s a process during and after construction to see if we meet certain standards, and if we do, we become certified,” VanderVeen said.
The entire project is pegged at $5.5 million. Approximately $1 million will be paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration; $1 million will come through a U.S. Department of Energy grant; and the balance will be covered by the county’s airport fund, which has grown for several years to pay for the terminal and other capital improvements. The airport fund is self-supported by fees collected by airport users, not from county property taxes.
VanderVeen said he’s hoping for the project to be completed by the end of July.
“That’s assuming everything goes as planned,” he said.