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Airport Authority seeking bids for hangar

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The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority is seeking bids for a nine-bay hangar to meet what authority members termed a growing need for hangar space at the airport.

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The authority unanimously authorized project engineer Steve Aldinger to seek bids to construct a nine-bay hangar, with the option of including a water system and a fire suppression system.

The authority followed the recommendation of the general aviation committee made up of Vice Chairman Jeff Wilhelm and members Keith Veil and Wayne Mathson.

Wilhelm said the only way the authority will get a solid number on how much these new hangars will cost is to seek bids. The authority entered into a contract with Interstate Engineering of Jamestown earlier this year to come up with cost estimates for building a 10- to 14-bay hangar that will be rented out to private airplane owners. Aldinger presented a cost estimate of $620,000 to $700,000 to construct a 10-bay hangar, not including a fire suppression system.

Wilhelm said the authority has been talking about building new hangars for a long time.

"We've been talking about this for 20 years. It would've been a lot cheaper to build these hangars 20 years ago," he said.

Chairman Jim Boyd said a request for bids will be sent out sometime in early November and should be back to the authority sometime in mid-December.

"The plan is to review the bids in January, with the authority making a decision on accepting or rejecting sometime in February or March," he said.

Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen said before the vote that she would rather the authority figure out how it's going to pay for the project. The authority has reviewed different options for funding for the new hangar, including taking out a long-term loan through different federal agencies. Options the authority is considering for paying off such a loan include seeking a property tax mill and enacting a tax on all fuel sold at the airport.

Wilhelm said if necessary the airport may have to support the new hangar for a year or so after it's built if the authority can't agree on a source to pay back any loan.

In April the authority held a public input meeting to gauge interest in building a new hangar. Airport Manager Matt Leitner said there was a good-sized crowd at the April meeting, many of whom said they would be interested in renting a hangar bay for their airplanes.

"We've got at least eight people who have said they would rent a space tomorrow if we had it," he said. Leitner estimated that number has probably doubled since April.

"There is a tremendous interest in this airport," he said.

Aldinger said by seeking bids the authority will know for sure how much this project would cost.

"If the bids come in too high, we can talk with the low bidder and see if there are things we can do to cut down on the cost," he said.

Boyd said after the meeting with projects related to the Spiritwood Energy Park starting to move, he thinks there is the potential for even more hangar space in the near future.

"I think as Jamestown and the surrounding area continues to grow, so will the airport," he said.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at colson@jamestownsun.com

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