Airport terminal designs revealed
ALPENA — Alpena County Regional Airport has released design renderings of what the proposed new terminal at the airport will look like if the Federal Aviation Administration appropriates funds for the construction. The final design plan needs to be submitted to the FAA in July and the county should know if it will receive the federal funding in October.
According to Airport Manager Steve Smigelski the design plan is 50 percent complete, but the balance will be related to electrical, plumbing and other systems that will be unseen. He said the new parking lot design also is near completion.
The estimated cost of the project has fluctuated over the years, but Smigelski said the latest estimate pegs the cost at about $13.6 million. According to Smigelski, if the FAA approves the discretionary funding request it will pay for 95 percent of the cost, while the Michigan Department of Transportation and Alpena County would absorb 2.5 percent each. Additional, or non-eligible additions will need to be paid for by the county.
“Basically any place where a passenger can’t go, we would have to pay for,” Smigelski said. “The county will recoup that money however, because we lease that space to TSA and the car rental business. If we wanted to add a restaurant or something that is also something the county would have to pay for.”
There will be a use for the current terminal, Smigelski said. It could be used as office space and also meeting space. There also is a possibility part of it could be leased.
Once the FAA issues a notice to proceed in October, Smigelski said things should begin to move quite quickly. He said it is likely demolition of the old hangar north of the current terminal would begin right away. He said that is where the new terminal will be built and footings and other foundation work could be done. Then the bulk of the work would begin in the spring of 2019. Smigelski said contractors would be able to work on the interior of the facility in the winter of 2019 because the core of the terminal could be in place.
“That is when you’ll start to see the real work being done in it,” he said. “The best guess is that it will take about a year for construction, so that takes us out to the spring of 2020 when we could have it opened and operating,” Smigelski said.
Alpena County has been working closely with its consultant, RS&H, on the project for several years and it received about $1 million from FAA to have the design plans done. Smigelski said that is a good indicator that the project in Alpena is a high priority and he is confident the funding request will be approved.
“We have had a lot of talks and I really like our chances,” he said. “Every indication we have received is that they are in support of this and they have been here and seen how badly it is needed. We just won’t know for sure until we get that notice to proceed.”
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.