Pentagon awards $10 million contract to Yuma builder

Jun. 22nd, 2012
Mara Knaub

The Pentagon has awarded a $10.03 million contract for construction of a new Special Operations Forces free fall simulator facility to a local builder. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva announced Friday that the contract had been awarded to Pilkington Commercial Company of Yuma. The project will be built at the Yuma Proving Ground and allow soldiers to train realistically for air operations without traveling to the current facility at Fort Bragg, N.C. According to the Army’s project submission data, the wind tunnel at Fort Bragg is undersized for practicing modern free fall techniques and requires extensive annual maintenance. The new facility in Yuma will allow for better training at reduced long-term cost. “The Army has needed a facility like this for quite a time now. It’s tremendous for us to be able to build this,” company president Leo Pilkington said. The company has been pursuing the contract for almost two years. “It’s been a long process of putting it together,” Pilkington said. “We’re going to have a lot of people working on it. We’re excited for Yuma.” He estimates that about 40 workers will be on the site at the height of construction. Grijalva had specifically requested funding in previous years for this facility. “This is a needed project that’s going to create jobs in southern Arizona, reduce military transportation costs and make training easier for a lot of armed services personnel.” Pilkington had high hopes the company would get the contract, especially since the Pentagon wanted to award it to a small business. In addition, he said, the equipment company wanted to work with a local company. He hopes to continue the local angle. “We’re experienced with location subcontractors and we want to use local subcontractors for most of the project.” The contract calls for a design-build project. After a kickoff meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in early July, the company will start putting the design together. The estimated completion date for construction is Dec. 30, 2013. “We got our work cut out for us. Time to roll up our sleeves,” Pilkington said. The company has experience with multimillion-dollar projects, including a $63 million project for Arizona Western College and the $45 million Gila Ridge High School.

Mara Knaub
Sun Staff Writer
Yuma Sun
Jun. 22nd, 2012