Aviation Institute of Maintenance Partners with ARCO/Murray on 65,000 SF Adaptive Reuse Project, Converting a 24-Hour Fitness Center into an Aircraft Maintenance Training School

On June 8, 2022, the Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) broke ground on their latest facility in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey in collaboration with ARCO/Murray and SBLM Architects. The expansive adaptive reuse project includes a complete transformation of a 65,000-square-foot fitness space into a cutting-edge education facility for aspiring aviation technicians. Representatives from the school’s parent company, Centura College, ARCO/Murray, and SBLM Architects kicked off the groundbreaking event promptly at 1 p.m. ET. The groundbreaking ceremony marked the introduction of the ninth aviation mechanics school in the tri-state area and only the second in New Jersey.

The two-story building is in a retail center located at 459 Route 17 South, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. It once was a supermarket that was later repurposed as a 24-Hour Fitness Center complete with a large lap pool, studio space, basketball court, fitness areas, children’s playground, sauna, locker rooms and more. Over the course of 2022, the space will be converted into a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 147 certified aircraft maintenance training school. The space will breathe new life into the community through broadened and accessible career opportunities.

SBLM Architects was the original architect that converted the supermarket into a 24-hour Fitness Center years ago. Deriving inspiration from airport design, SBLM Architects will integrate the clean, yet industrial look and feel of airports into the facility, generating excitement for current and prospective students by immersing them into the world of aeronautics.

“We are excited to see how this new space will fill the existing shopping center with a new sense of purpose––as we believe it will serve as an inspiring education space for students, staff, and the community alike for years to come,” stated David Nicholson, Principal at SBLM Architects.

When students enter the building, they will be greeted with an open area that mimics an airport concourse through clear sightlines, exposed steel, industrial lighting and fixtures, and a fixed color palette throughout the spacious entrance and hangar. A special emphasis will be placed on the acoustics of the building given its close proximity to residential neighborhoods to ensure the school doesn’t disrupt the surrounding community.

ARCO/Murray previously worked with AIM as the design-builder on their 140,000 SF Chicago facility in 2021 and will execute the buildout for their new Hasbrouck Heights location.

“We’re excited to build off the momentum of AIM’s recently completed Chicago facility with this adaptive reuse project in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. The project is extensive and includes the demolition of an existing swimming pool, basketball court and racquetball courts to make way for a new student lounge, classrooms, offices, testing rooms, welding rooms, 20,000 SF airplane hangar and more,” said Tom Leary, Director of Accounts with ARCO/Murray. He continued, “We’re thankful for AIM’s national partnership and trust, as we work together to convert a vacant retail space into a flourishing vocational school focused on training in-demand aviation and manufacturing technicians.”

AIM is headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA and has a network of aviation maintenance schools across the United States. AIM students are trained to meet the demand of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and/or Powerplant from the FAA. The Hasbrouck Heights campus will serve students in the local community as well as surrounding areas. It is expected to be completed in December 2022 and will open for the Spring 2023 semester.

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