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Coast Guard Launches New Headquarters

January 31, 2012

© Houston Airport System
The new headquarters will be an addition to the existing U.S. Coast Guard hangar, already in operation at Ellington Airport.
The United States Coast Guard is making a multi-million dollar investment at Ellington Airport, opting to move its Houston-Galveston headquarters to the airport facility from the Houston Ship Channel by June 2013.

The new 117,000 square foot building will house approximately 300 employees, the Sector’s command center, investigative services, electronic support, public affairs and the regional civil rights office.

Dozens of Coast Guard members and invited guests gathered near the future construction site at Ellington Airport on January 31 to celebrate the moment with a groundbreaking ceremony.

“The Coast Guard has grown and our partnerships have grown,” said Coast Guard District 8 Commander Rear Admiral Roy Nash. “We needed a bigger building.”

Rear Admiral Nash says Coast Guard leaders have long viewed Ellington Airport as an ideal location for Sector Houston-Galveston activities but budget constraints kept the move from becoming reality.

But following the severe damage associated with Hurricane Ike in 2008, federal funds were made available for the new building. At that point, leaders with the Coast Guard began having detailed conversations with the Houston Airport System, focusing on key aspects such as location and future partnership possibilities.

Brian Rinehart, general manager of Ellington Airport, says familiarity between the two sides definitely helped smooth the entire process.

“The United States Coast Guard has had a strong presence at Ellington Airport for years,” Rinehart says. “And I think that existing partnership definitely helped us get right to work and offer the necessary support for a move of this magnitude.”

Those working in the Coast Guard’s existing office say they will definitely be counting down the days until the new facility is ready. The number of personnel has grown substantially over the past 10 years, leading the agency to place many of their employees in temporary trailers.

“Anyone who has visited our current base at the ship channel could see that we’ve outgrown our current facilities,” said Sector Commander Captain James Whitehead.  "This building will be a huge improvement for the way we do business, support commerce, ensuring security and serving the people of this great country.” 

Ellington Airport supports the operations of Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air Guard, the Joint Reserve Center, NASA and the 75th Reserve Division. Ellington Airport also serves general aviation and is a reliever airport.
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