Fremont’s Airport Advisory Committee learned about continued plans for a new terminal and parking apron.
During a Friday meeting, Dave Goedeken, director of public works for the City of Fremont, said he’s working with Davis Design for the terminal building’s design.
“I would like to get the design work done in the 2019-2020 budget year,” he said.
Because the terminal project will be entirely city-funded, it’s part of the city’s budget.
The proposed budget for construction of a new airport terminal is $2.2 million.
Next Tuesday, the city council will have its final budget hearings.
Goedeken said if the council approves the terminal project, the architect is confident there will be time to complete the design and construct the building in the spring in conjunction with the parking apron.
At its last meeting, the city council recommended awarding the parking apron project to M.E. Collins for $2.2 million, Goedeken told the Tribune. Now, the project will go to the Federal Aviation Administration and Nebraska Department of Aeronautics for consent.
Goedeken said the total project cost for the parking apron is $2.45 million. That includes engineering and testing costs.
An FAA grant will pay for 90 percent of the project, including the engineering work done so far. The city’s share will be about $245,000, he told the Tribune.
Goedeken said Burns McDonnell had a supplemental agreement for its engineering services, also approved at the last city council meeting, and by the FAA and the State.
Burns & McDonnell, which is in Kansas City, Mo., specializes in aviation facility planning, design and construction.
Goedeken said there was an increase in the firm’s services from an estimated $431,000 to $577,000 because the scope of the construction project has enlarged.
Initially, the parking apron was going to be connected to the main runway/taxiway with an alternate bid for connection to a second taxiway.
“The bids came in well,” Goedeken said.
So both connections will be built, increasing the project’s scope and meaning that Burns McDonald will have more time on the job.
“They’re only billing us for the days that they’re here so it could be lower than what their initial estimate is for their services,” Goedeken said.
A question came up regarding the proposed $2.2 million airport terminal project.
Committee member Eric Johnson asked if a maintenance hangar could be included in the terminal project.
Bill Dugan, committee member, also asked if money was left over from the terminal project if even a shell of hangar could be built that would be added onto in future years as funds became available.
“At least you’d start with something and you’d have storage, if nothing else,” Dugan said.
Committee Chairman Robert Steenblock considered Dugan’s comments.
“We’ll have to kind of look it over and see what size of a hangar we need out there to begin with. Obviously, it’s got to be larger than the one we have here. It was all right 50 years ago, but it isn’t now,” he said.
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Also during the meeting, Dugan asked about former Runway 1-19, which since has become a taxiway.
“It looks like the overlay is coming off,” he said.
Goedeken said told the Tribune that asphalt on the taxiway is starting to deteriorate.
“It’s at the point where it could use some maintenance,” Dugan said at the meeting.
Goedeken said the city will look at it for future maintenance.
In other business, Jim Kjeldgaard, a fixed-base operator at the airport, asked if work was going to start on a new Airport Layout Plan.
Goedeken said the thought had been to get the terminal done first and then look at the ALP.
But Kjeldgaard noted that it takes about two years to complete the plan and get it approved and that 90 percent of it would be FAA funded.
“If it takes two years, maybe we should start now,” Steenblock said.
When asked, Johnson, who is vice president of Kirkham Michael Consulting Engineers, also pointed out the plan’s importance, saying the FAA looks at it like a bible for the airport.
“So when we want to do a project, that’s the first option they go to; it’s really important,” Johnson said. “That’s been one of the reasons our terminal project has taken so long is our APL was outdated.”
The current ALP was completed in 1997 and has had a couple of updates.
“I agree the old one is old,” Goedeken said, adding that he’d make phone calls about this.
Johnson said he’s sure the FAA would support the ALP endeavor.
In the meantime, work continues on the automated weather observing system (AWOS), which is being relocated to a southwesterly location on the airport grounds.
The airport advisory committee previously voted to recommend the move, because the proposed terminal site plan would conflict with the weather observation system’s effectiveness.
Goedeken said the framework is in place for the AWOS. City staff will pour new concrete pads for the system.
Improvements planned for the airport on the west side of Fremont have long been discussed.
Built in 1964, the current terminal needs upgrades, such as a new heating and air conditioning system.
Fremont City Administrator Brian Newton said the aircraft parking apron is worn and needs to be larger to accommodate more activity and larger planes.
A variety of plants, stores and offices use Fremont’s airport. Businesses include: HyVee Food Store; Costco; Walmart; Menards; Taylor & Martin; ADM; 3M; Fremont Beef; and Oil Gear.
During mid-March flooding, the airport was very busy with people flying in and out of the city because roads were impassible due to the water. Supplies also were flown in to help flood victims.
The Airport Advisory Committee meets at 8:15 a.m. on the third Friday of each month at the airport at 1203 W. 23rd St. Meetings are open to the public.