BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A determined group of leaders broke ground on a project that they started thinking about more than a decade ago during Hurricane Katrina.
The future Aviation Emergency National Disaster Multiplex at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport will be a 24,000 square foot facility used for a variety of purposes including a staging area for those helping with emergency situations during regional disasters.
"One of the things we were lacking when the hurricane hit us, we did not have adequate space in order to even take care of people who were sending in things from all across the country to take care of people in Baton Rouge, especially food, clothes and other items that were needed," said East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden. "Now this is one of the reasons this facility is so important because we don't have to worry about that anymore."
Airport officials said the benefits of the new facility include:
- Allow the airport to provide staging facilities and additional services without impinging on normal airport operations.
- Provide the functional emergency operations center and relief warehouse critical to saving lives.
- Offer a strategic location along the Gulf Coast halfway between Houston and Mobile to serve as a key disaster relief multiplex for a large region.
- The multiplex will support various emergency situations such as disaster relief, but it can also serve non-emergency needs such as personnel training for emergency response preparedness.
- The warehousing facilities will provide space to stockpile supplies during the buildup to a severe weather event, or on an extended basis.
The multiplex, which will be located on the north end of the airport, is just one of the many developments planned for the ongoing Aviation Business Park expansion.