Ogden-Hinckley Airport plans high-tech test lab

Tuesday , March 12, 2013 - 12:11 AM

OGDEN — A high-tech equipment testing laboratory that city officials say will create jobs and complement the Top of Utah’s burgeoning aerospace industry is expected to be built and open for business at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport within the next year.

The city council recently approved a lease-agreement for a yet-to-be constructed “Nondestructive Inspection” facility at the airport.

NDI refers to a group of analysis and testing techniques used in the aerospace industry to evaluate the properties of a material without causing damage. Because NDI does not permanently alter the test material, it is extremely valuable in product evaluation and research.

Terrence Bride, Ogden’s assistant business development manager, said the facility would test primarily in two areas: advanced composites and metallic skin structures typically used for aircraft.

Bride said it is envisioned that nearby aerospace companies, such as Northrop Grumman, Boeing and others, would pay to use the equipment.

Bride said the facility’s construction is contingent upon the city receiving an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

In order to receive the grant, the city must provide a $100,000 match, which is where the lease agreement comes in.

The agreement waives annual lease rents for the ground, facility and equipment of $5,000 for the duration of a 20-year lease, constituting the city’s $100,000 contribution.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services has also agreed to contribute $100,000 toward construction of the project, and Bride said that while he can’t disclose the name of the donor, a $200,000 private donation is also anticipated.

Bride told the city council the facility will benefit the community in many ways, including a new tax base and job creation. The city estimates the facility will create 1,000 new jobs over a 10-year period.

Bride said grant approval is expected in June, and construction on the facility could begin in December,with doors opening sometime during the first six months of 2014.

Officials say the possible closure of the air traffic control tower at the airport won’t impact the lab.

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