Valley Airport Projects Advancing

The following article by Jessica Wetzler/DN-R is as published in the Daily News Record (Harrisonburg, VA) on Friday, May 15, 2020. (Photo by Daniel Lin/DN-R)

WEYERS CAVE — Expansion projects are ready for takeoff at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport as the airport commission approved accepting a grant offer worth close to $2 million and awarding a contract for construction of a taxiway and aircraft hangar facility.

During Wednesday’s commission meeting, members voted to accept a grant offer of $1.9 million from the Federal Aviation Administration for the taxiway and hangar apron project.

“This project was underway before the current crisis happened,” said Executive Director Greg Campbell.

The hangar apron would be used as the area at the airport where aircrafts are parked, unloaded or loaded, refueled or boarded. The construction of the taxiway will allow for growing businesses, Campbell said in September.

The grant being provided will be 100% funded by the FAA, which is a change from the usual coverage of 90% by the FAA and the remaining 10% a non-federal share, according to Campbell.

“It is needed infrastructure work and at zero cost, so it makes sense,” he told commission members.

The commission also awarded Sergent Engineering with a contract for construction.

Campbell said engineering estimates for the project came to $1.7 million and the bid offered by Sergent Engineering was at $1.4 million — the lowest received.

Construction of the taxiway will happen before the hangar apron, Campbell said.

As a new project gets underway, another nears completion with changes to the lobby area nearly finished.

The commission awarded a contract to Lantz Construction in November to build a secure area partition — a removable glass wall that would be installed in the passenger lobby to allow flexibility to increase the size of the post-screening gate during peak flight periods.

“Over the past year, we have been experiencing full flights on a regular basis,” Campbell said in a previous interview with the Daily News-Record. “The current area can be a bit crowded on full-flight days and does not provide sufficient space to ensure an exceptional passenger experience, which is our goal.”

Campbell said the addition will allow the airport the flexibility it needs to accommodate larger aircraft with more passengers for current charters and future service providers, which may use aircraft larger than the 50-seat jets operated by SkyWest.

The cost of the partition project was estimated at $213,000, with 80% funded by the state. The airport would be responsible for the other 20%, Campbell said.

Campbell told commission members the airport is waiting to receive the final items from a facility in Canada before being finished with the project.

During the commission’s June meeting, it is likely action will be taken on the airport’s proposed budget after it is presented in late May, early June.

“I didn’t feel comfortable giving you [the budget] today,” Campbell said. “This will give you two, three weeks to review it and at the June meeting we will have to pass it.”

Photo caption: Contractors work on maintenance in the passenger terminal at the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in March.