Tuesday, March 27, 2012
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Airport hangar construction stalls

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[March 27, 2012]  The construction of a five-place nested T-hangar for the Logan County Airport has been delayed.

Plans for the new hangar have been in the works a few years. Old hangars were knocked down and site preparation completed last year.

The project funding is 90 percent federal, 5 percent state and 5 percent county. The county funds come from the airport's rental of farm ground.

The involvement of state and federal funding makes the process subject to management by a professional engineer and regulations such as setting bid specifications.

A problem was discovered this month when the committee opened the two bids.

A bid from Logan Construction was made to specifications for a 51-foot Erect-A-Tube building at $258,000.

Tarter Construction came in at $237,000 as the lowest bidder. However, the proposed Full-Fab building was one foot less, at 50 feet. There were also differences in the quality, such as the number of cables per door.

The bidding process was handled by the consulting engineer, Chuck Hagloch of Hanson Professional Services, Springfield.

The airport committee felt it should stay with the deeper hangar as there is little spare room for many of the size of planes that would fill these hangars. The few inches would make a difference in the potential for damaging aircraft when moving them in and out of the hangar.

The committee also felt that for the quality that the Erect-A-Tube offers, the $21,000 difference would be a better investment.

Under normal circumstances, the lowest bidder is awarded the contract. The question was taken to the Illinois Department of Transportation, asking for approval for the preferred structure.

At the time of the board's adjourned session this month, an answer had not come back.

When it came to a full board vote, airport chairman Gene Rohlfs recommended that the board approve a bid for a five-place nested T-hangar not to exceed the highest bid of $258,800, contingent on approval by the Illinois Department Transportation, Division of Aeronautics.

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An intense 25-minute discussion pursued whether the board could or should do this.

Rohlfs hoped that by stating the highest bid amount, if the county gained the state's approval, they could move on construction right away.

There are already a couple of renters waiting, Rohlfs said. And if there would be a delay, it might be September rather than June or July when construction is completed, he added.

However, other board members observed:

  • That by approving a bid amount, the county is then committed to take a bid, including the lesser bid for the lesser building that is not desired, if the state would not approve the higher bid.

  • Even if the committee rejected the current bids and went out for bids again, they may not be allowed the same specifications or get what they want, and it would take a lot more time.

In the end, it was agreed 6-5 to send the bids back to committee.

  • Voting yes: Chuck Ruben, Jan Schumacher, Bob Farmer, Andy Anderson, Kevin Bateman, Andy Meister

  • Voting no: Rick Aylesworth, David Hepler, Bill Martin, Pat O'Neill, Rohlfs

Terry Carlton was absent.

Airport committeeman Chuck Ruben pointed out that if Rohlfs would get an answer from the state soon, he could call an airport committee meeting to approve a bid, and the board chairman could call a special board meeting "to speed the process along."

Board chairman Bob Farmer agreed.

The committee has set rental of end units with storage units at $230 per month.


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