Tinker could soon occupy GM plant

Tuesday, April 29th 2008, 8:33 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

Oklahoma County residents will soon vote on a proposed $55 million bond issue that could result in the county buying the vacant General Motors plant and leasing it to Tinker Air Force Base.

Tinker has more employees in one location than any other employer in the state. By giving Tinker more space to operate, county officials said it will allow the base to remain an economic staple.

"The base pumps about $3.6 billion a year into central Oklahoma's economy," County Commissioner Ray Vaughn said. "For it to go away would be a devastating event for Oklahoma County."

If the GM plant were to be occupied, the county could also make money off the building.

"For us to be able to take a facility that's been closed for over two years and put it back in operation, it's...really a win-win situation, in my opinion," Vaughn said.

If the bond issue passes, much of the maintenance and overhaul work that is currently spread out over dozens of antiquated facilities on the base would be moved and streamlined at what would be known as the Tinker Aerospace Complex.

Workers would be able to do, in days, tasks that currently take weeks.

Col. Evan Miller works at the Logistics Center and said the environment he works in is challenging, due to the lake of space.

"That just continues to get more and more challenging," Col. Evan Miller said. "And everything that we're trying to do in terms of our plans for the future are to make us more efficient and more effective."

Operations could start moving to the GM facility as soon as next fiscal year.

The vote will be May 13.