Chicago O’Hare Gets New Police Facility

Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Chicago Police Department for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new police facility at O’Hare International Airport.

The Chicago Department of Aviation and the Chicago Police Department came together to cut the ribbon for a new facility at O’Hare Airport for CPD staff. The project is part of O’Hare 21, a plan by the City of Chicago and its airline partners to modernise and future-proof O’Hare.

Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago, said:

“The new Chicago Police Department facility at O'Hare International Airport is not only the latest milestone for the O’Hare 21 project, but it demonstrates our continuing commitment to expand procurement opportunities for businesses owned by people of color, women and individuals with disabilities.

“BOWA Construction—a City-certified Minority Business Enterprise—led the coordination of several sub-contractors to transform a former warehouse into a state-of-the-art CPD facility, which will improve airport safety as O'Hare continues to grow.”

With the new police department in place, the former facility will be demolished as part of the 1.2 billion USD Terminal 5 expansion. This will give the airport more gates, passenger facilities, airline lounges, concessions spaces, a cutting-edge baggage system, increased security checkpoints and other updates. All of these will allow CDA to accommodate a greater number of passengers.

Inside Chicago O'Hare
Chicago O’Hare International Airport

O’Hare’s new police facility is known as ‘Building 521’. Having formerly housed offices and warehouse space, it measures around 20,000 square feet in size and includes offices, a roll-call room, locker rooms with showers, a hold room, interview rooms and storage for different departments, such as Canine, SWAT, and Bomb Squad. Much of Building 521 could be renovated. There were architectural and mechanical upgrades to ensure the facility complied with Chicago Building Codes.

Jamie L. Rhee, CDA Commissioner, said:

“The safety and security of the traveling public is our highest priority, and we have no better partner in that effort than the Chicago Police Department.” said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “This new facility will allow CPD to better serve the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use our airports every day, and to operate in a modern facility that allows them to better coordinate with other airport law enforcement agencies.”

The works performed included replacing an ageing HVAC system, adding energy-efficient lighting and other green features, installing a new fire protection system, and expanding the locker room to be fit-for-purpose for a greater number of CPD staff.

Charlie Beck, Interim Superintendent of CPD, said:

“The safety of the nation’s best-connected airport is of critical importance to the Chicago Police Department. The O’Hare station is a modern upgrade for both airport officers and specialized units that also creates a dedicated space to conduct training and coordinate with our federal partners.”

BOWA Construction dealt with the co-ordination of of a large number of sub-contractors, ensuring the complete transformation of a former warehouse into a functioning police department. The company founder is Nosa Ehimwenman. BOWA Construction is a City-certified Minority Business Enterprise and a newly-appointed US Department of Transportation Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programme participant. It is the first African-American prime contractor to win an airport concessions contract in Chicago.

Nosa Ehimwenman:

“We are excited to have completed the new CPD station at O’Hare International Airport. This is a tremendous accomplishment for the team, and it would not have happened without the team’s efforts and hard work. Working in a mission critical environment like Aviation isn’t easy, and I am very thankful for Jamie Rhee’s leadership and her team’s support in creating an environment of inclusion in Aviation. We are looking forward to working on O’Hare 21 and other future projects.”

By 2030 the O’Hare 21 project will result 25 percent more gate capacity and a more streamlined passenger experience. The project is the largest expansion in the airport’s history. 1.2 billion USD of that total 8.5 billion will go towards the expansion of Terminal 5.

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