Sep. 24--C EDAR RAPIDS -- A new public safety building at The Eastern Iowa Airport replaces a facility as dated as an Arnold Schwarzenegger weightlifting poster in the fit ness room. The $5 million structure will house aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment and serve as the station for 14 department members. The officers perform operations required by the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration as well as handling aircraft rescue and firefighting, emergency medical services and law enforcement duties.
The new public safety building replaces a much smaller structure built in 1967. Two more equipment bays were added in the 1980s and the building was remodeled in recent years to add a women's locker room.
Sara Mau, airport director of operations, said the new building has a public entrance for those needing to be fingerprinted and photographed for a badge to enter secure areas. Four dorm rooms will accommodate officers working 24-hour schedules; they now sleep in a leased trailer next to the old building.
Mau said the 7,133square-foot equipment bay in the new building will accommodate the next generation of firefighting equipment.
"The dimensions are much larger and we would not be able to fit them inside our existing building," Mau said. The airport's two units from 1994 are smaller than new airport fire trucks, she said.
A geothermal system and radiant floor heating with an automated program should hold down utility costs. Mau said energy-efficient fluorescent lights in the building are equipped with sensors to shut them off when a room is not in use.
"A much larger training room will allow us to conduct mutual aid training with area fire departments," she said.
"We also will be able to refill our air tanks here, rather than having to take them downtown to the Cedar Rapids Fire Department." Mau said an integrated alert system for aircraft emergencies will automatically open bay doors, shut off appliances and turn on lights when it is activated by the air traffic control tower.
Mau said public safety personnel will move into the new building within the next couple of weeks. She said the old facility will be avail able for lease. Money from the passenger facility charge collected with each airline ticket paid for the new public safety building. The airport does not receive any city property tax money.
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