ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland Board of Public Works Wednesday paved the way for Baltimore-Washington International Airport to get a new rescue and fire fighting station.
The board approved a $9 million contract with Columbia Construction Co. of Lanham to build the station, which would include eight bays for rescue equipment along with housing, parking and training services for emergency staff.
“The new facility will ensure that BWI’s preparedness remains at the forefront,” said Secretary David L. Winsted of the Maryland Department of Transportation.
The airport’s 64 emergency staff and 15 response vehicles will be incorporated from three separate sites into the 33,500- square-foot building, said Linda Black, a spokeswoman for BWI. With the new station, the staff should “be able to centralize our operations,” she said.
Black said the project is scheduled to be finished by next October.
Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who voted to approve the project, said in a prepared statement that BWI “needs to have all of the necessary tools to handle emergency situations as quickly and effectively as possible.”
The airport’s Fire/Rescue Service also responds to emergencies outside the airport – including emergency medical assistance, fires and traffic accidents. Through Sept. 16 of this year, emergency personnel have responded to 37 calls at the airport and 178 away from BWI, Black said.
Columbia’s bid, among five the state received, was almost $750,000 lower than cost estimates from state engineers.
In addition to the new station, Columbia will be responsible for building an access road for emergency vehicles. “The vehicles will have their own gate so they can avoid the regular airport traffic,” Black said.
State officials said half the money to pay for the station would come from federal grants, with the remainder picked up by the state and the $3-per-person tax on airline tickets. The new fire station is just one of the many renovation projects going on at BWI. A $450 million capital improvement program has brought forth a new international gate and observation gallery, and construction is under way on expanding the parking garage and lots for the increased number of passengers. -30-