Barkley Regional Airport Authority officials said plans for the new passenger terminal construction project remain on target for completion in the first quarter of 2023.
During a meeting Monday, the airport authority board received an update on bids for the apron and airfield work, as well as the terminal building itself, and possible next steps in a local fundraising effort connected to the project.
“I’m happy with the way things are going,” said Dennis Rouleau, airport executive director.
“I’m very pleased with how everything is proceeding. We’re still moving forward with the terminal opening in the spring of 2023. We had some minor issues but for the most part everything is going as planned.”
The overall estimated cost of the terminal project is approximately $42 million, primarily funded through federal grants. The airport board, through the efforts of the Barkley Blue Sky Alliance, a community organization focusing on fundraising, is helping to raise the estimated $5 million to $5.5 million needed for the local share of the project.
Jay Matheny, airport board chairman, said there was only one bidder for the apron project.
“That bid actually came in over the engineer’s budget estimate by about 26%, and we were a bit surprised by that,” he said.
“But to that point (of only having one bidder), any time you do asphalt or paving work or concrete work on the airfield, you have to do it by FAA specs, which is really difficult and completely different than your normal highway work and stuff like that.
“The relief came for all of us when we saw the bid package on the actual terminal building. And, those came in, I’d say, fairly significantly under the engineer’s original estimate. That sort of offset the overage, if you can call it that (on the apron portion).”
The board will likely call a special meeting to address the bids, Rouleau said.
“We don’t have to wait another 30 days (until the next scheduled meeting), because more time is not helpful to the contractor,” he said.
“We’re trying to do whatever we can to speed it up and not have the contractor have to hold the bids for an extended period of time. The sooner he can award, he can lock in prices, whether on the terminal or the apron.”
Both Rouleau and Matheny are also members of the Barkley Blue Sky Alliance, which also met Monday.
Representatives of CCS, a professional fundraising organization, have conducted a feasibility study on how a fundraising campaign to support the terminal project could proceed and suggested formally launching a 120-day plan with a goal of raising $3.5 million over 12-18 months.
The discussion with how to proceed with fundraising efforts continued Monday with the BBSA.
“They (CCS) completed a study to kind of see what are some of the emerging themes for this fundraising campaign,” Matheny said. “They have not been engaged further. The next step in the process, if Barkley Blue Sky Alliance were to so choose, would be to engage them further to help get the campaign off the ground.”
Part of that discussion, that’s been going on with both the airport authority and the alliance, “is taking a look at directing fundraising efforts to expand air service. Taking a good look to determine the feasibility of providing a direct subsidy to an air carrier to expand air service here.”