Work takes off: Utility work ongoing ahead of airport terminal

Preliminary work for The Neil Armstrong Airport terminal building continues to move in anticipation of final construction drawings and plans, an airport official says.

County Airport Manager Sean Stroh said they are continuing site survey work to extend drainage and utilities from the village of New Knoxville.

Mote and Associates, of Greenville, is completing a topographic survey of a square area of land between the village, Kuck Road, the airport runway and Ohio 219. The survey is of drainage, electrical and telephone lines.

“It’s a complete survey of utilities on the property so we can plan on how to expand,” Stroh said.

Bid packets for the work are expected to be ready by the end of July with the project bid in August.

“It’s all in preparation for the terminal building,” Stroh said. “The key item here is to build the foundation for the terminal building. What we are using currently would not be acceptable for a new facility to be tied into.”

Stroh said connecting to the village’s utilities has a value-added component for the corporate hangers, allowing the operation to move off older wells and drainage lines on the property.

Long-term benefits of moving to a public system include less maintenance costs.

“We haven’t had any problems with it, but with ever changing EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) guidelines, most likely it would be soon that we may not be meeting standards,” Stroh said.

Utility work is to be done in two phases using federal grant money for 2012. By the year 2013, utilities are to be completed.

Federal funding for the project is 90 percent paid through the grants with a 10 percent local match. Total project costs are expected to be approximately $500,000.

Ground for the new airport headquarters is expected to be broken in 2014 with the building completed in 2015 after a year of construction.

Plans for the terminal building are to update passenger waiting areas, construct a larger customer service center and a large conference room. There also are to be flight planning areas, pilot sleep facilities, updated restrooms and improved kitchenette and canteen areas. A basement is to double as a storm shelter. The airport does not have such a facility now.

“Most of the items have been requested in the past,” Stroh said.

The Minster architectural firm Garmann-Miller & Associates is designing the building considering what may be needed 50 or 60 years down the road.

“When the terminal building was constructed in 1969, it was the first on the facility and it was only meant to be a temporary structure expected to last 5 to 10 years,” Stroh said.

Unusually warm weather so early in the spring has allowed Stroh to begin routine maintenance at the facility. It’s work that he normally isn’t able to start until June.

In addition to that, Stroh said the nice weather has caused an earlier than normal increase in traffic from recreational users at the airport.

“In years past, we would still have snow on the ground,” Stroh said.