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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday ó May 28, 2004

Arts and Entertainment

SV Aviation breaks ground

Move to opposite end of airport under way

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Aviation officially broke ground Wednesday on a new flight operations base at Friedman Memorial Airport. The buildings at the northeast corner of the airport that have served private and charter aircraft customers for over half a century will be torn down in the fall.

Fixed Base Operator Sun Valley Aviation broke ground on a new executive termi-nal and aircraft hanger Wednesday. The project involves Friedman Memorial Airport, Sun Valley Aviation's parent company, Seven Bar Aviation, builders from Tectonic Man-agement Group, and airport consultants, Toothman-Orton Engi-neering. Photo by David N. Seelig

A new 8,800-square foot executive terminal and hanger will replace buildings that date back to the 1930s.

"The ET (executive terminal) will have a pilotís lounge, computer stations, a break room and segregated office space," said Kevin Larson, the architect for the aviation project from the Colorado-based Tectonic Management Group doing the construction.

"Since the inception of aviation, this area was used for (flying) in some fashion," said Sun Valley Aviation General Manager Mike Rasch. "We are excited about what is about to happen."

Armed with chrome shovels and construction helmets Sun Valley Aviation and airport employees joined builders and pilots to celebrate the commencement of the project.

"Letís move a little dirt," Rasch said.

Seven Bar Aviation, the parent company of Sun Valley Aviation, has owned the air service company since 1982. It has been charged with moving the location by the Federal Aviation Administration since the implementation of the airportís 1994 master plan.

"It took 10 years to implement the master plan. Our lease (for the old buildings) is up in October," said Seven Bar CEO Wade Black. "These things donít happen overnight. Itís been a scramble."

Black is the grandson of Seven Bar founder Albert Black. His father, company chairman Rolfe Black, was also present for the ceremony.

"We hope that this will be a nice facility for (Sun Valley Aviation) employees to work in," he said. "They have worked in cramped quarters for a long time."

Hertz rental car manager John Whaley said he, too, is happy to see operations move to the new site away from the Woodside subdivision and Highway 75.

"Since 9/11 about half of our rentals have been booked through our station in the FBO (fixed base operator Sun Valley Aviation)," he said. "It will improve the traffic congestion issue on the highway and when the (air traffic) control tower is moved you wonít notice the airport as much. It will look like part of the industrial area."

Although the Airport Authority has begun the process of planning for a new airport, airport planners expect that Friedman will be around at least long enough to make the project worthwhile, said Airport Manager Rick Baird.

"Even with 10 years of improved operation itís worth it," said airport engineer Chuck Sundby.

By the end of next summer the operation should finally be settled in its new digs.

"Weíre pleased that youíre a part of this community," Baird said. "Thank you for this wonderful day to start this project."


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