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Dean Baldwin Hangar Expansion Begins

May 19, 2023

Work on expanding and renovating an airplane hangar at Grissom Aeroplex is set to being later this month, paving the way for a business that officials say will generate 200 jobs. 

Hangar project to add 200 jobs
By Carson Gerber
Posted: 05/17/2012 5:58 AM
The $13.8 million project will accommodate Texas-based Dean Baldwin Painting LP. The hangar will be expanded by 50,000 square feet so it can house massive airplanes like the Boeing 747, which Dean Baldwin paints and services.
Company CEO Barbara Baldwin said she anticipates the facility will create about 200 jobs with a $6 million payroll in 2013. 
The expansion project will be funded by a $7.2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state loans totaling $5.1 million, and more than $1 million in funding from Miami County. 
The Miami County Economic Development Authority accepted bids for all five construction packages earlier this month. The packages cover work like steel erection, fire suppression, wastewater, and plumbing. 
Huston Electric in Kokomo was awarded the bid for electrical work at $1.3 million.
Jim Tidd, executive director of MCEDA, said the agency has issued notices of awards for all the bids, but contractors will not be issued notices to proceed with the work until Tuesday, after they return required paperwork. 
“A project like this doesn’t just develop overnight,” Tidd said Wednesday at a celebratory groundbreaking outside the hangar. “Economic development is very competitive and takes time. And this project is no stranger to time.”
The project has been in the works since 2009. Since that time, its budget increased from $10.3 million to $13.8 million after upgrades were required to meet building codes. 
The project was postponed last year after MCEDA rejected bids on the five construction packages when they came back significantly higher than expected.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, a group of local and state officials, including Indiana Secretary of Commerce Dan Hasler, praised Dean Baldwin for staying with the hangar after three years of waiting. 
“This state does not take ‘no’ for an answer,” Baldwin said. “When a door closes, they look for another door. There’s a resiliency here. It’s been three hard years, but you’ve made it happen.”
She said major airlines are waiting for Dean Baldwin to open, and she projected the facility would be operating at maximum capacity within the first year. 
The company plans to paint and service more than 200 airplanes a year, which could attract other aviation businesses to the area, Baldwin said. 
“Mark my words – you will be amazed what you see going on here,” she said.
Dean Baldwin, a 46-year-old company with facilities in New Mexico and Texas, has signed a 30-year lease agreement with Miami County to use the hangar. Tidd said the yearly lease payments will go towards paying off the federal and state loans to expand the hangar. 
Barbara Baldwin said the company should be operating out of the facility by December. Once a final completion date is set, she said, the company will begin hiring employees and setting up contracts with airline companies. 
“That hangar is an ugly duckling right now, but it will be a beautiful swan very soon,” Baldwin said.