This is Not Just Any Old Hog Crib

This hog pen houses the Arkansas National Guard 188th Fighter Wing’s A-10 Warthogs.

FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS -- When you think of a hog CRIB you don’t think in terms of 30,000 square feet with three 78’ x 22’ doors. But this hog pen houses the Arkansas National Guard 188th Fighter Wing’s A-10 Warthogs, who also go by the name “The Flying Razorbacks,” for maintenance.

Built by SSi, Inc., of Fort Smith, the A-10 Composite Maintenance Hangar project had a number of special requirements, not the least of which was construction immediately adjacent to the active flight line. SSi’s Dennis Griffin said the entire construction area was surrounded by a six-foot fence covered with a special filter fabric to be certain no construction debris got on the flight line. On the roof, in addition to the hand rail, SSi installed a fence to catch debris from the 34-foot front-side eave height building.

Among the unique things not normally specified in buildings, the A-10 maintenance hangar includes a life safety fall system the entire length of the aircraft, a foam fire suppression system, an exhaust system to eliminate fumes in a possible fuel spill, even an exhaust for fumes in trench drains. And, one room in the facility is explosion-proof, including an overhead wench, outlets and heater.

The foam fire suppression system is temperature-sensitive with a requirement to “cover the floor with foam in nine seconds, and for the foam to be 4 feet deep in four minutes,” Griffin noted.

The building could not exceed the congressionally-mandated 30,000 square feet, and requirements included three 78’ x 22’ hangar doors, with fire rated partitions to create three approximately equal spaces.

The building features transverse frames running crossways, which is opposite of normal, and parallel with the direction of the ridge as opposed to typical custom designed building construction. Exterior walls were masonry to 12 feet, then SSi installed insulated panels horizontally for aesthetic purposes. The base design standard called for a 3:12 pitch on the roof, creating a challenge because of the enormous eave heights that would be created. The team solved this with a clerestory, which broke the roof lines to comply “in spirit” with the base design standards but also allowed natural lighting into the hangar bays. The roof standard color was dark bronze, but in order to meet LEED requirements, an exception was made to change it to medium bronze.

Site work began in September 2007, and the project was completed in February 2009. The design called for zero roof penetrations. “It was not bad to erect,” Griffin said. “We came to the Ceco plant in Columbus (Mississippi) and met with the Ceco designers and our structural engineers from Atlanta. We came up with a good plan that fit the footprint requirement. The Ceco people worked with us in every way,” said Ken Hart of SSi.

This was a design-build project with SSi required to meet not only the base standards, but also the local and military building codes. SSi had to determine the size of the various rooms, where special equipment would be located. “Our job was to come up with a design to make it work,” Griffin said. Everyone worked closely with architects and engineers, and the result was the 2009 United States Air Force Concept Design Award.

Currently the project is working to qualify for LEED Silver. To achieve that level, SSi recycled and reused as much waste as possible, diverting 96% from the landfill; using mostly steel with recycled content, and local sourcing.

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