Tucson Airport Authority Board of Directors took a major step to replacing the 55-year-old control tower at Tucson International Airport, agreeing to lease land to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to build a new one.
With the approval, it’s anticipated that construction of a new $43 million control tower could begin in March with completion taking about two years.
The unanimous vote came after three years of analysis that included computer modeling and simulation of aircraft activity for optimum placement of the tower. The new site is on 6.2 acres off Aero Park Boulevard and adjacent to Bombardier Aerospace on the west side of the airport. The location will give traffic controllers better views of airport runways and taxiways, avoiding glare from the sun.
Placement of the tower at this site is also consistent with the airport’s Master Plan and will not conflict with TAA’s plans for future development.
Construction will include access roadways and a 13.500 square-foot support building, along with a 500 kilowatt ground mounted solar power array. The tower itself will be 252 feet tall (11 stories). The project will be overseen and entirely paid for by the FAA.
The existing 115-foot tower was opened in October 1958. While no decisions have been made, TAA plans to keep the iconic tower – with the letters T-U-C-S-O-N down two of its sides – but repurpose it after the new tower is opened.