ING Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF) and Readiness Center

Project Summary

Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, once served as home to the Illinois National Guard’s Company B, 106th Aviation Battalion and Company B(-), 935th Aviation Battalion, as well as two UH-60 (Black Hawk) aviation companies. Over time, the airport’s expanding commercial business and increasingly busy airspace, combined with the age and configuration of the units’ facility, led to a need for relocation. The Guard found a new site at the Greater Kankakee Airport in Kankakee, Illinois, and Hanson served as a consultant, handling military planning and structural engineering for a new Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF) and Army National Guard Readiness Center.

The 64,000-square-foot readiness center includes office space, classrooms, locker rooms, restrooms and supply warehousing, as well as a surface maintenance bay, a kitchen facility and a 6,000-square-foot assembly hall. 

The new Army aviation support facility is a 121,200-square-foot facility that includes a maintenance hangar, a storage hangar, supporting maintenance shops, classrooms and administrative. The project also includes multiple site improvements such as exterior lighting, fencing, parking areas and roadway, as well as the installation of a fuel storage and dispensing system. The hangar support facility features five tilt-up canopy doors that are 109 feet wide and 20 feet tall. It is equipped with four cranes, including a single-girder 2.5-ton crane; a double-girder, 10-ton crane; and two workstation cranes. 

The project was designed using Autodesk’s Revit building information modeling software so the client and design team could resolve design issues, detect and mitigate system "clashes" prior to issuing drawings for construction and allow users to easily visualize the spaces to facilitate use planning. The facility sought LEED® Silver certification.

A planning charrette was conducted early in the process with consultant team members; Capital Development Board representatives; multiple Illinois National Guard representatives, including members from the Guard Bureau and Construction Facility Management Office; and members of the 106th Aviation Battalion who occupy the facility. Over the three-day charrette, a variety of options for the site were explored that resulted in the selection of a design for a modern facility, and the building’s shape is appropriately reminiscent of a rotor blade. 

The project featured two functional aspects. The Readiness Center and the AASF had separate congressional appropriations that were understood by the owner, using agency and design team to be contingent upon each other, and therefore were designed as a single building with a single construction phase.

This challenge was identified during schematic design and resulted in the team's recommendation to the owner and using agency to hold a value management workshop. This workshop provided an opportunity for the owner, using agency and design team to consider the project on the basis of value and define what value alternatives may be available to bring the project within budget while maintaining the building's performance. The design team diligently sought additional design and material alternatives throughout this phase, balancing the design direction with the available budget. Construction for the project began in October 2014, with substantial completion in fall 2017.