The 32,000 square-foot remodel of part of a Freeport Center West facility was rated second on the state’s list of building projects – until it was decided to take those funds and switch to a possible bonding mechanism, said DATC President Michael Bouwhuis.
Noting the bonding option officially surfaced at 11 p.m. the last night of the Legislature, he said Monday morning, “we’re going to work with him (Governor) on that this week.”
Several Northern Utah projects would benefit from bonding, including Weber State Davis’ second building and a courts building in Ogden.
The DATC facility should fit well into the Governor’s vision of creating jobs, particularly those that are conducive to this area’s aerospace technology cluster designation, Bouwhuis said.
The composites facility, as noted in an earlier Clipper story, was a possibility that only surfaced last November, the DATC chief said.
It appeared well-suited to announcement several months earlier that ATK was building a nearby facility employing about 900 people in which composites would play a major role.
“ATK has been anxious, and Hill AFB has also been a good partner with us on composites,” Bouwhuis said. “They’re (base) starting to gear up, as the old work-horses, F-16 and A-10, are going to come out of the system, giving way for the F-35, and some of our other new aircraft.”
The new aircraft will use about 60-70 percent composites in its construction. With ATK’s building the F-35 wing structure completely out of composites, plus the Air Bus and Boeing 787, Bouwhuis said the need is there for such a training facility.
“Our intent is to go out and set up an advanced program, a finishing school that develops individuals who may go through our basic composites program, then teach them on exact fundamentals they need to work into a job at ATK and Hill,” Bouwhuis explained.
“We also want to do some work with Lifetime Products and Utility Trailer, making training more adaptable to them. We see them as a corporate-based partnership center. Our goal is to (also) meet their needs,” he said.
It’s hoped a contractor can be lined up shortly to “clean out” the World War II era building that served in the old Clearfield Naval Depot.
Interior asbestos and other modifications will also be made to the space, which is about one-fourth of the building’s total space.
“It’s a pretty compelling argument that it’s a good time to build,” he said, with construction costs still at historically low levels.