By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa manufacturing plant is flying high at the airport.
Spirit Aerosystems, which builds airplane components for Boeing, the Air Force and Gulfstream, already uses part of Tulsa's largest building but needed more room for new equipment.
The solution was a total renovation of a long-abandoned but attached 44,000-square-foot building.
"It was huge in terms of being able to diversify our product base and attract new customers," said Don Carlisle, general manager of Spirit Aerosystems.
Spirit Aerosystems cut a ribbon Friday to celebrate the renovation and the new customers it can serve with the new capability -- with new work bays, a 20-ton crane and plenty of room.
Spirit was given tax money to pay for most of the $17 million renovation.
"There's more opportunity that will come as the result of these facilities being built here right now," said Rep. Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa.
The chief executive of Spirit says this new facility and equipment will not only help create new jobs, but will also help the company keep jobs in Tulsa.
"If we wouldn't have gotten the commitment from the state and the city, No. 1 I wouldn't have been able to bid for the Gulfstream programs," Carlisle said.
Spirit won a contract with Gulfstream because of a giant pressure cooker that can cure the surface material of airplane wings.
It's 70 feet long and 20 feet around -- big enough for the entire wing for a business jet.
"We know that supporting this industry is what brings great jobs with better than average income and keeps them in this community," Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor said.
Spirit already has 1800 employees in Tulsa and with the new building expects to win new business.
The renovation not only gave Spirit new work space but also eliminated a lingering environmental problem.
The renovated building had been mothballed and was loaded with hazardous material.