New SFO Tower Underway
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was effusive in his praise of the planned new tower at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which formally began to take shape on Monday at a groundbreaking ceremony that included FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta and NATCA SFO Facility Representative Dave Caldwell.
“I promise you, the new facility at San Francisco will not be your grandfather's control tower,” Secretary LaHood wrote in his “Fast Lane” blog on the DOT Web site. Read here.
Indeed, the future home of what is now a strong 78-member NATCA local is quite unique in many ways, starting off with the tornado-like shape. The design has drawn the attention of architecture aficionados in the San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco Chronicle last week ran a detailed story about the design, which you can read here.
The new tower will be 221 feet tall, 30 feet taller than the current facility. It will have nearly 25 percent more space for controllers and be able to withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, making it “seismically sturdier than the current tower,” according to Secretary LaHood. To achieve LEED certification, the tower will also feature solar panels, eco-friendly mechanical and technical systems, and recycled and sustainable building materials.
Caldwell said the groundbreaking ceremony went very smoothly and he is quite happy with the official start of a new facility that was years in the making. He wrote a heartfelt note to his members, a portion of which we have reprinted below:
“I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you working today for your dedication and professionalism during Acting FAA Administrator Huerta’s visit before the groundbreaking and the media being upstairs afterwards. It can be distracting but you all handled it in stride as you always do. I also want to say a special thanks to Dawn McMullin and Bill Pong for attending as your New Tower Team Members. They did a great job representing you and we are all well served by their work on this project.
“The Administrator spoke highly of you and I can safely say that he likes his visits to SFO and will do so again given the chance.
“All in all it was a very good event that reminded me of how proud I am to be your FacRep. It was a little difficult for me to actually realize that we really are on our way to a state of the art new tower that will become a benchmark for others to follow. Again, thanks to all of you for your efforts.”