Owner Illinois Dept. of Military Affairs
General Contractor George Sollitt Construction Co.
Lead Design Firm Bailey Edward
Structural Engineer Hanson Professional Services
MEP Engineer IMEG Corp.

The LEED Silver, $64.6-million Army National Guard Readiness Center and Army Aviation Support Facility in Kankakee, Ill., is home to two aviation battalions and a medevac unit. The more than 185,000-sq-ft spaces house 200 soldiers, 40 full-time employees and 10 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

After having an Illinois presence at Chicago Midway Armory for 50 years, the state Dept. of Military Affairs ran out of space. When the department signed a contract to move 60 miles away to a site in Kankakee in 2009, it was an opportunity to expand to a much larger program as well as a new home.

“There were so many different systems. So that’s what was the challenge for us,” says Kevin Magnuson, project manager for MEP engineer IMEG Corp.

The 112,150-sq-ft support facility takes up a little more than half the area of the complex and includes hangars, maintenance shops, flight support facilities, fuel distribution and a cold storage hangar.

The 73,050-sq-ft Readiness Center provides space for more administrative functions, with classrooms, conference rooms, a medical clinic, weapons simulator and flight simulators.

The equipment needed for both sides of the Black Hawk-rotor-shaped building includes two generators; two 2,500-gallon-per-minute fire pumps; two 75,000-gallon above-ground tanks for the fire safety system that pipe into the building; and an expansion foam fire suppression system for the hangars, equipped with  cameras that monitor each aircraft bay and which can detect small flames.

“The main thing that helped us get it done on time was the communication among everybody, from designers to the ownership to the subcontractors,” says Henry Ryan, vice president at contractor George Sollitt. “We used BIM for constructibility and had numerous meetings that showed intent, then we just broke it down into its component parts and got it done.”

ENR's Best of the Best Projects 2018