Plans for a 12-bay airport hangar at Washington Regional Airport have been grounded even before the first shovel was dirtied in construction, according to Washington Public Works Director John Nilges.
Nilges provided an update to the Washington Area Transportation Committee, which met on Monday in Washington City Hall.
“We have seen an uptick to the cost of constructing (the hangars),” Nilges said. “It is kind of obvious, but material prices are continuing to be relatively high, so we are actually scaling back the base bid for the hangars.”
Initially presented as a 12-bay hangar project, Nilges said the city is prepared to seek bids to construct an eight-bay hangar, with options for contractors to submit an alternative bid for a 10-bay hangar or secondary alternative bid of 12-hangars.
“We need to scale it back just to ensure that we can afford this,” Nilges said.
In February, city officials said the 12-bay hangar project would likely cost $1.2 million, though the majority of the money would come from the state and federal government.
The construction of the 12-bay hangar will be largely paid for using money from the Airport Entitlement Fund or the Non-Primary Entitlement Fund, which are funds administered by the state on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration. These funds will pay $450,000, or roughly less than half of the project’s total cost.
The local airport receives $150,000 annually from the Non-Primary Entitlement Fund, which can only be spent on improvements at the airport. This money is capped at $450,000 and must be spent or be forfeited back to the federal government.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is paying $556,000 toward the hangar construction. This is money that Washington’s city government would have been tasked with paying had the state transportation department not stepped in.
The city’s capital improvement sales tax fund will pay nothing toward the project. Instead the city will pay $34,799 from its general fund.
Nilges said Monday that if the city opts to build an eight-bay or 10-bay hangar, these new hangars would be built in a way that would easily allow for future expansion of the hangars.
The new hangars are needed at the airport, according to city officials, who said last year there are 30 pilots on the waiting list for hangar space at the airport. Officials had hoped the 12-bay hangar project would shorten that list by nearly half.
The airport currently has 36 hangar spaces in three buildings, with the most recent hangar construction project being completed in 2013 and being filled “immediately,” he said.
The 12 new hangars are expected to increase the airport’s revenue by $36,000 annually, according to City Administrator Darren Lamb.
The airport, which features a 5,000-foot by 75-foot runway with night-landing capability, posted a nearly $24,000 profit last year. It’s located three miles north of Washington in southern Warren County along Highway 47.