Construction Update November 2016

Thank you for your ongoing support, which has made great progress possible! But your help is still needed to turn historic Willow Run into a museum…

We’ve Been Working On: Important Planning Work…

In 2016, our primary focus has been on architectural, engineering, and infrastructure planning work prior to the next round of construction activities… and, of course, fundraising. We have partnered with ACM and Willow Run Airport and RACER Trust to determine the best way to re-do the utility and entrance infrastructure of the entire site, which we plan to commence with the 2017 construction season. (The utility infrastructure was by necessity demolished along with the main portion of the original Bomber Plant in 2014, and will have to be restored to our remaining portion.)

…and a Fresh Coat of Paint!

Thanks to some very generous companies and organizations, the historic WWII-era Willow Run Bomber Plant has a new paint job! Painting work commenced at the end of September, and not only greatly improves the looks of the building – more importantly it is protecting the building’s original gunite surfaces and the historic metal hangar doors through which over 8,600 completed B-24 Liberator bomber aircraft rolled out between 1942 and 1945.

This project began with power washing the exterior of the building by US Ecology with equipment assistance from the Alta Equipment Company. Next, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades [IUPAT] scraped the metal doors to remove all the loose paint that had not been removed by power washing. After this preparation, painting by the IUPAT workers began, with equipment assistance from Wolverine Rental & Supply. Historical photographs had revealed the Bomber Plant’s original WWII-era paint scheme, and we worked with the Behr/Kilz Paints to match it closely: a dark green for the metal hangar doors and light beige/off white for the gunite surfaces above those doors and on the West and East sides of the building.

The painting project was almost entirely donated.

These Companies and Organizations Helped Paint Willow Run:


A sincere thank you to these fine companies and organizations for helping to paint the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant!

US Ecology provided the exterior power washing at no cost.
Alta Equipment Company donated the use of the man-lifts through US Ecology for the power washing.
Behr & Kilz Paints donated all of the needed coatings, primers and finish coats.
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 1M Michigan [IUPAT] donated all of the painting work, using this as part of their Finishing Trades Institute training program.
Wolverine Equipment Rental & Supply provide significant discounts on the rental of lifts for the painters.

With these significant contributions, this project, with a finished value of well over $100,000 was 97% donated with the Michigan Aerospace Foundation providing the balance of the funding.

Painting of the most important face of the building, the South side with the big original hangar doors, was completed on November 1. With winter approaching, the painting has been put on hold until April when the IUPAT painters will begin where they left off, finishing the East exterior wall and then the West exterior wall.

…and Some Very Generous Organizations Are Helping Rosie the Riveter “Raise a Roof!”

On a more colorful, polka-dotted note, this summer the Yankee Air Museum and Save The Bomber Plant’s Willow Run “Tribute” Rosies kicked off the fundraising effort to repair a portion of the roof. When we purchased the Willow Run Bomber Plant in 2014, we knew that the roof on the Annex Building would need to be replaced. The annex will house the Archive and Preservation Wing of the future museum, along with reception rooms and catering facilities for donors and meetings. The Annex is not part of the original Bomber Plant. Rather, it was added by GM in the 1970s.

The cost of the roof replacement was $203,000. We applied for a Challenge Matching Grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs to help replace the roof and were awarded $50,000. Our Willow Run “Tribute” Rosies diligently raised additional funding through their “Raise a Roof for Rosie” campaign at this summer’s Wild Wednesday and Thunder Over Michigan air shows. These funds along with funds allocated by the Michigan Aerospace Foundation and a generous in-kind donation/discount by RCI Roofing and Sheet Metal in Brighton, Michigan are allowing us to begin replacing the Annex roof this month! Going forward we can now begin plans for building out that section of the Bomber Plant project. Stay tuned for exciting photos in our next Construction Update.