Open house attracts Air Force and community leaders
By Brandice J. Armstrong , 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 20, 2009
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Air Force leaders, Oklahoma state, county and local community officials gathered at Tinker Air Force Base Aug. 17 to celebrate the installation's newest addition, Bldg. 9001 in the Tinker Aerospace Complex.
"Thanks to those who had the vision and thanks to those who carried it out," said Gen. Donald Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command. "This will be a magnificent addition to the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center."
General Hoffman and other leaders spoke to hundreds of attendees in the 545th Propulsion Maintenance Squadron's TF33 turbo fan engine maintenance shop, an area that has already been renovated and operational.
"I remember several years ago, when it was announced that the [General Motors] plant was closing, and we were all concerned what was going to happen to this great asset," said Oklahoma State Treasurer Scott Meacham. "The plan was if we could just add this piece to the Tinker puzzle, we could make one of the most dynamic economic engines in the state of Oklahoma even better."
The plan was first brainstormed by community leaders in February 2006. Two-and-a-half years later, Oklahoma County purchased the 407-acre property and leased it to the Air Force. In October 2008, Air Force and Oklahoma County officials participated in a key-passing ceremony.
Bldg. 9001 is one of six industrial buildings on the property, which also houses an office facility. There are approximately 4 million square feet of usable space in the entire complex. Bldg. 9001, alone, compares in size to Bldg. 3001, having 2.5-million square feet of industrial floor space.
By the end of 2009, officials said four operational units will occupy approximately 600,000 square feet in Bldg. 9001, and will house roughly 600 employees.
But that's not all. In the next year, officials said they plan to hire new personnel. The increase in employees will further boost Oklahoma's economy, said Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn.
"We believe that the new jobs ... will undoubtedly be followed by others including those in the private sector," Mr. Vaughn said. "However, those announced today promise an annual payroll in excess of $25 million dollars, which according to the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce should provide an annual impact to our regional economy in the neighborhood of more than $38 million, just shy of the total purchase price of this entire installation."
Overall, the Aug. 17 celebration was about more than the Air Force's newest facility. It was about teamwork and the community partnership.
"This was a team effort from the start," said Maj. Gen. David Gillett, OC-ALC commander. "We truly could not have come this far, to begin operations so soon without everyone contributing to the effort. The opening of TAC postures Tinker for an exciting and vibrant future. Thanks to all of you for making this happen, especially the good people of Oklahoma."