It’s official! Work on the Dearborn Campus Transformation began on May 18, 2016 with the start of demolition on Wind Tunnel 2.
“We’ve been performing some geotechnical testing at various locations on the site for the past six weeks, but this is the first real demolition work we’ve begun,” said Roger Gaudette, Ford Land Director of the Transformation. “It’s exciting to finally get started!”
Located trackside on the Dearborn Proving Grounds, Wind Tunnel 2 was recently used as a workshop and lab to support Vehicle Evaluation and Verification operations. The 75,000 square foot building is being demolished to make room for a new, three story Driving Dynamics Laboratory.
“The new facility will house acoustic labs and garages on first floor, fabrication shops and engineering lockers on the second, and new collaborative employee workspaces on the third floor,” said Gaudette.
The demo will take eight weeks to complete because of the building’s unique infrastructure, position and connection to other buildings on the Proving Grounds.
“Isolating Wind Tunnel 2 from the existing utilities to make it safe for demolition, while maintaining uninterrupted trackside operation was the biggest challenge for our team, said Annu Abraham, (Project Manager). “It took us six months to complete the disconnections, and there was never a dull moment.”
Built in the 1920’s, Wind Tunnel 2 was once a small passenger terminal for the Ford Airport, one of the world’s first modern airports that operated from 1924 to1947.
Heavily modified over the years, the only historical feature that remained was the ticket booth windows from the original structure. These windows, along with other architectural items, were carefully removed and will find a home in the new DDL building.
“It’s really cool when we uncover or find something of historical significance and then be able to find ways to incorporate those items into the new designs,” said Gaudette.
All the Wind Tunnel 2 demolition is contained within a barricaded construction zone, and closely coordinated with Ford Security and Proving Grounds supervisors to make sure trackside interruptions are kept to a minimum.
“We really appreciate the consideration and support trackside employees have shown during this active construction phase,” said Abraham.