After receiving a notice of deficiency from the Federal Aviation Administration during a yearly inspection, the State of Hawaii determined that it was not feasible to upgrade the existing Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) station at Kona International Airport. It was determined that it was more cost effective and would better serve the airport for decades to come if a new facility were built in a better location than the existing ARFF station occupied. The principal engineer of Swink Group was responsible for managing the entire design process, securing funding from both state and federal government sources, selecting a consultant for the construction management duties, evaluating construction bids, and awarding the project. He also managed the project from conception to completion to ensure that work was completed on time and on budget including negotiating change orders and resolving disputes presented by the contractor.
Now, a little bit about the facility. The 24,000-square-foot facility cost $18.6 million, with 90% coming by way of a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The state picked up the remainder of the tab for the station, which has five double loaded drive-through bays within the apparatus area capable of housing 10 Stryker 4500 ARFF trucks. The station is home to 25 employees. Included in the station is office space, sleeping areas, training rooms, conference rooms, an emergency operations center, and a watch room on the second floor from which firefighters can see the entire runway.
The vice president of the construction company once said that all he saw when he started on the project was rock, rock, rock, and more rock. As the top layers of virgin lava was removed, it was discovered the entire site was made up of blue rock, some of the hardest rock in the islands. Although this made the underground work very difficult, it also provided a very sturdy foundation for the emergency facility that would provide critical services in many types of emergencies.