A south Lawton fire station is two projects away from being open for business.
Fire Station No. 2, located on Bishop Road, houses the specially-trained firefighters who respond to aviation-related emergencies at Lawton Fort Sill Regional Airport, as well as emergencies on “civilian” property in south Lawton. The new facility is under construction west of the existing station and the project is nearing completion, Airport Director Barbara McNally said Tuesday.
McNally said while the station has its certificate of occupancy from the City of Lawton, two projects remain before the station is designated fully completed: a trench for a “hot line”, or the hardware that will link the fire station directly to the airport’s tower; and work on the software for the security fencing. McNally said that software is “not talking” to city software.
“Those two items are needed before we can open,” she said, of the new station.
The $3.9 million station had been slated to open last fall, but problems delayed that opening until mid-January, when the City of Lawton was expected to take custody of the building and transfer operations there.
Work also is winding down on a conversion project that has changed the airport’s Hangar 5 into a departure and arrival facility for Fort Sill soldiers.
That hangar, located on the airport’s northern boundary, was the one-time home of American Eagle’s maintenance facility but in recent years was used for storage and to house the airport’s maintenance facility. Those activities were relocated last year, and Hangar 5 is being renovated for large-scale use by the families and friends who attend deployment and arrival ceremonies for military personnel.
Some work was completed in 2019 — local contractor CDBL installed three sets of double doors to meet fire marshal access restrictions and a walkway from the parking lot into the building, to include fencing, to maintain security. Airport personnel repainted the interior of the hangar.
McNally said new insulation has been ordered to be installed along the ceiling of the hangar, and an awning has been installed over the new doors.
“It looks great,” she said.
Work also has begun on a project to renovate the restrooms. Those facilities have been completely gutted and will be rebuilt.
McNally said the airport is working toward a completion date in March, because that is when Fort Sill said its first large-scale return is scheduled for the facility.
The hangar is intended as a temporary site for arrival and departure ceremonies as military and federal officials continue discussing a plan to build a permanent Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group at the south end of the airport’s runway. McNally said those plans are still on the table, within inclusion in a federal master plan for 2024.
“We’ll talk about this on our D.C. trip,” she said, of plans by the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce to make its annual trip to Washington, D.C., in late March to talk to federal legislators.