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Construction begins on LEO A DALY-designed air traffic control tower in Mesa, Arizona

Construction completion is anticipated in July 2022

A virtual groundbreaking took place Dec. 8 at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway International Airport on a new dodecagon (12-sided) air traffic control tower. LEO A DALY is leading all architectural and engineering design services for the $30 million project.

The air traffic control tower will extend 190 feet high and include a 550-square-foot control cab with room for eight controllers. Its design conforms to all current FAA criteria. A two-story ring structure within the upper portion of the tower, located below the control cab, will house electronic and computer equipment, a staff breakroom, meeting/training room, office space, restrooms, engineering and storage spaces. Tower-placement of the ring structure resulted from an exhaustive design analysis.

“We explored design options for expanding the base building to house various functions and found it less cost-effective,” said LEO A DALY’s Dan Dellovechio, the design project manager. “Elevating the airport authority’s electronics and administrative functions near the upper portion of the control tower’s otherwise unoccupied shaft was less expensive to construct.”

The tower’s seismically resilient, 12-sided, precast-concrete shaft rests on an expanded, concrete mat slab, which is mounted on a network of 37 augered cast, reinforced concrete piers, each one 80-feet deep. Intermediate floor slab and stair construction is also of precast design, with the upper tower’s expanded-ring construction employing steel framing with insulated metal panel cladding and high-performance insulated glazing bands.  The tower includes a pressurized egress stair, a machine-room-less elevator, and accommodates escorted visitors and cab exterior service access via an open-air walkway at the 150-foot level.

Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning airside systems include direct digital controls (DDC), economizers and electric heating. Air-conditioning systems are served via redundant, 115-degree ambient, 76-ton, high-efficiency air-cooled chillers.  Plumbing fixtures are environmentally-conscious low water-consumption type. Tower fire suppression is provided via both wet and pre-action (dry) sprinkler zones serving general and mission-critical electronic equipment spaces, respectively.

LEO A DALY competed and was selected by the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority to design their new control tower, partially funded under the FAA Contract Tower Program. The new tower will replace the existing 1970 tower, originally constructed to serve the former Williams Air Force Base Airfield.