JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Improvements to the main Air Traffic Control tower at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson are almost complete.
The renovations, at an approximate cost of 2.4 million, have improved the existing structure built in 1967. The project is scheduled to be complete this week.
“The tower required a massive renovation in order to be functional,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Kyle Johr, 3rd Operations Support Squadron complex chief controller. “Renovations to the tower included an upgraded electrical system, new sheet rock and lighting, a new entryway, adjustable work center consoles and more.”
The ATC tower will provide a safer and cleaner workspace, with increased personnel comfort and added functions to cut down on any future renovation cost.
During the construction, ATC personnel operated out of the newly renovated Hangar 2 alternate tower. For Airmen to work from this tower, equipment had to be brought over from the main tower, and functions had to be updated to be considered operational.
“Bringing the equipment from the main tower to Hangar 2 presented a challenge because of size limitations,” said Geoffrey Farley, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron project manager. “We had to be conscious of the small size of the elevator and staircases. To accommodate this, equipment pieces were made to fit the unique setting.”
Since the operation began, many units and personnel on base worked to make the renovation possible.
“ATC still had to control traffic during the construction process, so we worked to outfit Hangar 2 as their alternate tower while renovations were taking place,” said Master Sgt. Bryant Hines, 3rd OSS Radar Airfield Weather System section chief. “We provided them with radar displays, multichannel radios, instrument landing system and tactical air navigation aid indicators, and more to ensure operations could continue.”
“The 673d Communications Squadron, 673d CES, 3rd OSS Radar Airfield Weather System unit, the contractors, and ATC Airmen all played a role in the success of getting the construction on its feet,” Johr said.
The 673d COM Squadron assisted with the computers in the tower and worked to ensure the computers not only worked, but worked for us, Johr said.
Personnel with the 673d CES also provided support by enabling Hangar 2 tower personnel to be able to control the airfield lighting from there.
While each unit made the renovation possible, the mission couldn’t have continued without the work of the ATC Airmen.
“ATC Airmen adapted well to all the recent changes while also playing a major role in moving the equipment out of the main tower and into the alternate Hangar 2 tower,” Johr said. “Throughout the construction they maintained a positive attitude and kept the mission going.”
Overall, the construction process has been a collective effort, Johr said.