Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT) received an Honor Award at the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC-IL) Engineering Excellence Awards banquet on February 8, 2018. From concept to ribbon cutting, CMT provided key support through planning, agency coordination and processing as well as funding assistance and civil/site design for the Chicago Rockford International Airport Aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Facility (MRO).

Airport leadership identified an opportunity to further grow large aircraft operations at RFD by building an MRO as there are limited number of available of MRO facilities in the US, and more specifically, there is a need in the Midwest. CMT had previously assisted the airport in an update of their Master Plan which included identifications of on-airport locations and conceptual layouts for MRO facilities. The airport also recognized the benefit of a large cluster of existing aerospace jobs in the Rockford market and the opportunity to work with Rock Valley College (RVC) to tie MRO job opportunities to the “aircraft and powerplant (A&P) mechanic” program to bring additional higher paying jobs to the region. Preliminary planning activity included refining the site plan to develop a “Midfield Industrial Park” that accommodated an expanded facility for RVC, the MRO complex as well as allowed for additional development for further expansion.

Once the lease was executed and site plan finalized, the team’s challenge was to execute a strategy to allow the new facility to be operational within 14 months. The intense schedule required many tight deadlines, close collaboration between the stakeholders and changes to our design to accommodate the variety of project delivery methods utilized for the multiple packages required to bring the project to fruition.

The MRO facility includes two large structures roughly 10 stories in height, each capable of accommodating a Boeing 747–8 aircraft or Airbus A380 aircraft, with an airside apron also designed for large aircraft. The two structures are separated in the middle by office and shop space. An auto parking lot and access facilities accommodates 400 to 500 automobiles and employees per day.

“We’d like to thank ACEC for this award, it is truly an honor for CMT and well-deserved recognition for the Greater Rockford Airport,” said Brian Welker, PE, CMT’s Senior Vice President & COO and managing principal for this project. “This project is an excellent example of successful collaboration among stakeholders and local agencies to deliver the facility on schedule.”  Welker continued, “On behalf of CMT I want to thank the Greater Rockford Airport Authority for the opportunity to help them realize their vision of this important project.”  Also recognized by Mr. Welker were the subconsultants to the team that included Scandroli Construction (Rockford, IL); Testing Service Corporation (Rochford, IL); Geo Services, Inc., (Naperville, IL); GZA GeoEnvironment, Inc., (Oak Brook, IL); Affiliated Engineers, Inc., (Madison, WI) and Spohnheimer Consulting (Seattle, WA).

The CMT team started working on the new maintenance facility as an element of the airport’s Master Plan update. Once a lease was negotiated, services continued with initial project conceptual layouts, cost estimates and site selection alternatives. Next, extensive preliminary design, planning, environmental review, layouts and cost evaluations were completed. To ensure a cost-effective design, our team traveled to Boston and Louisiana to look at similar facilities, and to discuss facility features and requirements. In the first five years, the facility is expected to add 500 jobs to the local economy benefiting the region.