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Air Apparent

New aviation support facility couples military space with a municipal airport

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To create the boreholes for the piping, Rocky Mountain used a Failing 1500 geothermal drill rig that rapidly rotates a drill bit mounted on the end of a rod, Lynch says. Water is pushed through the drill stem, washing out the excavated material. A bentonite slurry was injected to create a wall in the hole so the pipe could be installed.

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“Stabilizing the borehole walls also prevents the flow of fluids between boreholes and surrounding materials and reduces cross-contamination between aquifers,” Lynch says.

Foaming at the House

The hangar features the latest Federal Aviation Administration-required fire protection, a high-expansion foam system that will protect the nine UH 60 helicopters that may be housed there at any given time. Western States Fire Protection Co., Albuquerque, installed the system, which includes four huge vats positioned in the hangar roof, Duggan says.

“A chemical and water are mixed in the vats and it comes out as a dry foam to protect the aircraft while putting out a fire,” he adds. “It dumps the foam into the hangar and fills to just above the top of the aircraft, about 15 ft.”

The nontoxic foam is an innovation in fire-fighting systems and “won’t harm the water stream,” Duggan says.

Sampson installed a 3-mile water line and built a pump house to support the system.

The project was originally slated to begin October 2007 but was delayed six months due to the artillery field remediation. That delay would have wreaked havoc on the April 2010 completion date, as well as cost, had Sampson not devised a way to keep up the pace of construction during the winter.

Once the concrete footings, steel frame and roof of the hangar were erected, Sampson created a tent for the structure made of metal posts, wood frame and plastic sheeting walls that extended 50 ft beyond the building footprint so work could resume during the winter when the hangar doors weren’t in place. The tent allowed the contractor to pour the concrete slab in the middle of winter.

Thomson credits Sampson’s ingenuity for keeping the project on time and on budget. “If we would have had to shut down the project for winter, that takes a toll on the subs and design team,” he says.


$34 million
Owner: Wyoming Military Dept.
Contractor: Sampson Construction Co. Inc.
Architect: CooverClark & Associates
Engineers: AVI, Structural Solutions, Martin/Martin Inc., M.E. Group Inc.
Start: April 2008
Finish: April 2010


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