Airport shows off its new operations center |

Airport shows off its new operations center

Charles Agar

The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport will unveil its new $12 million, 30,000-square-foot operations center at an open house Tuesday.The facility, which will house emergency and fire prevention teams, as well as snow removal crews, should be fully operational in the coming weeks.The building is on the south side of the airport along Owl Creek Road. The building’s central watchtower has phone, radio and Internet capability, and could act as a control center in the event of a large emergency. The building houses staff training rooms, offices, a crew day room, men’s and women’s locker rooms, a workout room and two dorms with fold-out beds for crews on extended shifts in the winter. There are also three on-site, affordable housing units.One large garage bay will serve as home base for fire crews; the efficient building makes it easier for crews to reach the center of the tarmac in the required three minutes in the event of an emergency.Another larger garage houses snow removal equipment. The new facility is part of a four-year effort to improve the airport’s reliability in winter by having plows and a blower onsite. Until now, the equipment has been stored outside.The building’s sod roof masks the size of the garages, and the building fits snugly into the hillside. The airport spent $400,000 on landscaping to ensure the facility doesn’t stand out from the road.”We wanted to be environmentally friendly, look good from the road and minimize the size of the building,” said airport director Jim Elwood.The public is welcome to attend the open house, which includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the building, equipment demonstrations and simulations, and refreshments from 4-7 p.m. For more information call 920-2850.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is

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