A groundbreaking was held Oct. 7 for a somewhat overlooked LAX modernization project: a new $220 million airport police headquarters facility.

When completed in mid-2021, the 160,000-square-foot structure will consolidate police operations on 12 acres at the intersection of Loyola Boulevard and Westchester Parkway on the north side of the airfield.

The airport police division at LAX operates out of eight locations separated by as much as 6 miles. That has made it difficult to conduct daily operations and respond to emergencies.

"This new state-of-the-art Airport Police Facility will facilitate more efficient operations across our various police divisions and with our partner agencies,” Deborah Flint, chief executive of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that runs LAX, said in a statement.

Besides serving as a command center for police operations at LAX, the facility will house an office of the police division's homeland security and intelligence unit , a bomb disposal unit, a practice range and an emergency operations center.

Chicago-based Skidmore Owings & Merrill is the chief architect on the project, while Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Greeley, Colo., is the general contractor.

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