Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Airport gets $18M for construction

Safety improvements require expanded terminal

Express Staff Writer

An expansion of the Friedman Memorial Airport terminal will move the embarkation area and baggage claim to the north side of the terminal.
Express graphic by Tony Barriatua

    The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday awarded Friedman Memorial Airport an $18 million grant to fund construction work over the next year that is required to meet federal safety standards for ground operations. The money is part of a series of federal grants expected to cover about 94 percent of a $34 million construction project scheduled for completion by July 2015.
    The newly awarded funds will pay for most of the construction planned at the airport through next spring. The airport will contribute about $1.5 million with money collected from the $4.50 passenger facility charge billed on each airline ticket.
    “It’s just astounding me that this is working as well as it has,” airport Manager Rick Baird told the Airport Authority board during a meeting on April 8. “Airports of our size don’t normally get grants of this size.”
    Included in the work this year is:
•    Spring 2014: Moving the south half of the airport’s west taxiway 70 feet to the west in order to create more space between it and the runway. The runway will be closed for 25 days from April 28 to May 22 to allow that work to take place.
•    Summer 2014: Repaving to strengthen a parking apron on the north side of the terminal due to the loss of parking areas for planes after the taxiway is moved.
•    Fall and winter 2014-15: Partial relocation and expansion of the terminal to allow for passenger enplanement on the north side of the building. Construction of new hangars displaced by the new taxiway location.
•    Spring 2015: Additional terminal modifications. Construction of a new building to house the airport’s administrative offices as well as fire-fighting and snow-removal equipment at a site closer to the parking area.
•    Spring 2015: Moving the north half of the west-side taxiway. The runway will again be closed for 25 days.
    Work on the airport terminal expansion, which is expected to cost about $6 million, is expected to begin in October and be completed by summer 2015. Plans for that and the new operations building are expected to go before the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission for design review in June.
    Matt Dubbe, an architect with consulting firm Mead & Hunt, presented drawings of the proposed terminal reconfiguration to the Airport Authority board on April 8. He said the terminal’s current 20,000-square-foot floor area will be expanded to 34,000 square feet.
    The addition will create an L-shaped building, with an exit door to a pick-up area for arriving passengers at the inner corner of the L.
    The entry door for departing passengers and the ticketing counter will remain where they are now. Baggage claim and car-rental agency desks will be moved to the northwest side of the new portion of the terminal.
    Dubbe said the waiting area for departing passengers will be large enough to seat all the passengers flying on three 65-seat jets, which Delta Airlines began operating on its Salt Lake City route in January. United Airlines also has regional-jet service into Friedman.
    Dubbe said the new area will have a 10- to 11-foot ceiling and a lot of big windows.
    “It will feel really, really open,” he said.
    A waiting lounge for arriving passengers opposite the exit door will have comfortable chairs and a fireplace.
    Baird said in an interview that the work will no doubt impose some inconvenience to passengers, but that a main goal of the project is to minimize those impacts.

A remodeled terminal will maintain the existing entry, but add a new doorway for arrivals.
Courtesy graphic

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