Airport build on schedule, on budget

ALPENA — The construction of the new terminal at Alpena County Regional Airport is on schedule, meaning the facility should be open before the end of the year.

Officials also expect the nearly $12 million project should be completed within budget.

Ryan Hall, a spokesman for RS&H, the county’s consultant on the project, gave county commissioners an update on the project during an Alpena County Airport Committee meeting on Thursday. He also passed along some change orders for the building.

Hall said the walls of the building are done and the brick work for the facade has just began. He said the roof panels are almost all installed and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing work is underway.

“Everything is progressing rapidly and on schedule,” Hall said.

Hall submitted a small list of change orders that came to about $30,000 for things such as more steel, a change in insulation, and a different door frame than was in the original plan. To this point, Hall said there have been about $60,000 in change order costs, which he said is low for a project of this size.

He said the $30,000 addition to the cost of the project revealed Thursday is really a wash, because there was a credit to the county last month.

As the final phase of the construction moves forward, Hall said there could be more change orders, but he doesn’t anticipate they will include anything large.

“As we dig into the building a little deeper in the future, we may have to have a few small ones,” Hall said. “So far, though, we really haven’t had that many.”

The cost difference between the change orders and the original design is accounted for in the budget. Money is set aside to handle change orders, which are common during when projects go from the design to the construction phase.

The new terminal was made possible because the Federal Aviation Administration committed to paying 95% of the cost of construction, while the Michigan Department of Transportation and Alpena County will each pay 5%.

Airport Manager Steve Smigelski said last month a delegation from the FAA Great Lakes Region toured the new terminal and were pleased with the facility and progress.

“That’s important, because they are the ones cutting the biggest checks for this,” he said.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpeanews.com.