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City moving forward with plans for aerospace training center at airport

This artist
This artist's rendition shows the space and location of the proposed aerospace training center at the Renton Municipal Airport.
— image credit: Courtesy image

With additional funding secured this legislative session and the hope for more int he near future, the city of Renton is moving forward with plans for the new Central Sound Aerospace Training Center to be located at the Renton Municipal Airport.

Set to be built on the southwest corner of the airport property, the building is designed to bring together many of the players in the local aerospace industry together, such as Renton Technical College, in a single place to train the next generation of aerospace workers.

Originally intended as a relatively small $2.5 million project, once the parties involved came together they realized a bigger training center was needed.

“It was clear that $2.5 million was nowhere near, with that space, the ability to met their needs,” city Communications Director Preeti Shridhar told the City Council’s Committee of the Whole recently.

The city requested an additional $10 million from the state to build the facility and this year received $5 million, though Shridhar said, there is a “very very strong chance” the city will receive the additional $5 million to bring the full project up to a $12.5 million in funding.

Airport Capital Improvements Project Manager Ben Dahle said they have begun looking at cost models and space allocation at the airport, including the location and possible use of the existing, former Chamber of Commerce building.

Dahle told the council the current building is too small for their needs and would require serious upgrades, such as reinforcing the floors and raising the ceilings. Only the foundation is useable.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of that building they could re-utilize,” he said.

Instead, a new modular design is being proposed, one that could grow if needed. Each block is approximately 4,500 square feet.

“Stakeholders believe a 3-bay option is the right fit of this area,” Dahle said.

But with only $7.5 million in funding available, a smaller building is initially being proposed. According to the presentation, the total square footage tops out at 10,850 square feet, with parking for 60 cars.

It would include two classroom spaces and two lab spaces.

Should additional money materialize, the third bay would be added, bringing the size to 18,900 square feet at a cost of $12.5 million.

All of the designs are shown with access from both the runway level and the road level above.

Construction on the project is set to begin in July, with a completion date of May 2015 and an opening date of July 2015.

According to City Administrator Jay Covington, the idea would be for the city to build and own the building but find a partner within the industry to run the center.

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