Military Complex Jump Starts Colorado Springs Project

A $50 million military complex that will be used for arriving and departing troops is the first facility being built at the Colorado Springs Airport's new business park.

Construction on the 81-acre complex, which will include a tarmac and taxiways, cargo loading areas and a maintenance and storage building, began Wednesday.

It is one of three facilities planned so far for the 1,000-acre, $300 million Colorado Springs Airport Business Park, next to the airport.

When the military complex is complete in 2008, it will have the capability to send more than 1,200 troops a day overseas, said Stefan Bocchino, 21st Space Wing spokesman.

Troops from Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base now leave for locations around the world from Peterson and from locations near Fountain and Powers boulevards, which can handle 500 to 600 troops a day.

"The reason we chose this location (the business park) is there are no active runways on Fort Carson or available land to accommodate a deployment runway," Bocchino said. In addition, the amount of available land at the Springs airport and its proximity to both Fort Carson and Peterson make it a choice spot for the complex, he said.

The first phase of the project will include construction of the tarmac, taxiways and a cargo loading area. The second phase will include an 86,000-square-foot aircraft maintenance and equipment storage hangar.

The complex will be built by the Army and operated by the Air Force. The airport will not receive revenue from the complex. Instead, the airport will get to use roadways and utility infrastructure that will be built by the Army Corps of Engineers for the Army's facility.

"It is a great trade for us," said Springs Aviation Director Mark Earle. "It creates a value for the airport and allows us to support the military mission and military impact on our community."

Both of the other companies that have announced plans to build at the airport business park have ties to the military.

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. is scheduled to complete construction of a 130,000-square-foot, $30 million office building on 30 acres at the airport's business park by fall 2007.

Aerospace Corp., which provides technical analysis and assessments for Air Force Space Command and several other Air Force organizations, recently submitted plans with the city to complete a 78,000-square-foot building by fall of 2007 on 30-acres of the business park.

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