Even though temperatures were in the 80s on Wednesday, Spokane International Airport officials were talking about snow.
The airport hosted a dedication ceremony for its new $7.5 million snow-removal facility.
The 50,800-square-foot building has nine equipment bays, a 5-ton bridge crane and a wash station for eight new snow-removal trucks.
The new trucks’ cost added $4.6 million to the project.
Funding came from the $4.50 passenger facility fee charged to each departure ticket.
“This facility is paid for by the people who use the system,” airport CEO Lawrence Krauter said.
Airport officials estimated their crews remove 6.6 million cubic feet of snow in an average year.
David Holmes, chairman of the Spokane Airport Board, said the new building will help airport crews keep runways clear and flights on time.
“The way you make things safe is to have great facilities,” he said. “We want an efficient, well-run airport. We want the runways clear.”
Ray and Jim Cortner, of Cortner Architectural Co. in Spokane, designed the building with an undulating “ribbon roof.”
The distinctive feature will give travelers an impression that Spokane cares about how it looks, officials said.
The new building will operate in conjunction with the airport’s existing 38,300-square-foot maintenance facility. The new facility will allow all the equipment to be parked indoors.
Among the new rigs are several 75-foot-long, multifunction trucks with 24-foot plows, 22-foot sweeper brooms and 12-foot underbelly scrapers. Two of the new rigs are huge snowblowers.
The building was designed to meet U.S. Green Building Council standards for environmental efficiency. Cortner said the building will at least meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification and may achieve the gold standard.
Energy-use projections show the facility will save 48 percent on energy consumption compared with a more conventional design.
The building features in-floor radiant heat, low-energy lighting, low-flow plumbing and enhanced ventilation.
Virtually all construction waste during the project was recycled. Nearly half of the materials used contained recycled goods. Wood used on the job was sustainably grown and harvested.
Jim Cortner said the environmental gains were achieved at a relatively small cost.
Lydig Construction Inc., of Spokane, was the general contractor. More than 30 companies, mainly local firms, participated in the job.