When it opens this fall, visitors to the West Michigan Regional Airport will be welcomed by a fireplace, spacious seating area and a wall of energy-efficient windows facing the runway.
The new business center at the end of Geurink Boulevard will house both the airport authority and fixed-base operator — a far cry from the small trailer where the operator’s offices are now.
“For the first time in the history of the airport, you’ll have everyone in one facility,” authority manager Greg Robinson said to the board of directors, during a tour of the new building Monday, March 14.
Authority leaders are excited about the opportunity to welcome businesses into Holland with a bright, modern facility — especially one lined with windows that are designed by and sourced from a local company. The building will also be outfitted with furniture donations from Herman Miller and Haworth.
The west-facing windows that overlook the runway from the public waiting area are from Pleotint, a Jenison company. Their Suntuitive brand of window allows light to pass through, while a self-tinting film inside the glass helps reduce solar heat that enters the building and decreases sunlight intensity that enters.
Monday at the site, nearly all of the Suntuitive windows had been installed and most of the drywall was complete in the building. The fireplace was recently installed, and crews continued to complete HVAC, electrical and masonry work.
The $7 million project includes construction of an apron for planes in front of the building, a new parking lot and the $2.4 million business center facility. Work will begin to pour the concrete apron in April, Robinson said.
The business center is on track to open in August.
After the initial plan for the business center turned out to be costlier than expected, about $430,000 in amenities were taken out to fit the budget. Thanks to donations, the majority of those have been added back in — including a ceiling and the specialized windows, Robinson said.
To date the airport authority has received about $227,000 in donations and has another $200,000 in donations committed to the project, Robinson said. Paying for the bulk of the project are the airport authority, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Though officials initially thought the building’s ceiling would be exposed and industrial, donations to the project have allowed for the installation of a ceiling that will flow through the entire building.
Travelers arriving by car will enter through a west-facing door to the building, and will be greeted by a two-way fireplace in the foyer. They’ll walk into a large waiting area, with a conference room on the left and the wall of Suntuitive windows facing the runway on the right.
Walking east, a wall and glass doors will separate the public space from the office space in the east part of the building.
Travelers arriving by plane will enter doors on the south of the building into the same large public waiting room. Robinson and his team are considering putting word-art on a large wall inside the waiting room to greet people with international words of welcome.
The office space in the east side of the building will be divided between the authority and the fixed-base operator. Robinson said the design of the building allows for additions to the east in the future, if needed.
In the next several months, Geurink Boulevard will be extended to connect to the business center. Sign designs and placement are still being finalized as well.
Robinson said the authority will be evaluating its staffing structure in the next fiscal year do to its expanded office space in the new building.
The airport authority is also considering adding another public hangar to the property.