Terminal flies at airport | CraigDailyPress.com

Terminal flies at airport

Crews lift new building onto its foundation after more than a year of work

Collin Smith

Ray Beck was giddy Monday about the long-awaited arrival of the new terminal building at the Craig/Moffat County Airport.

“We’ve been waiting for this for so long it seems like,” said Beck, Airport Advisory Board chairman, as he walked through the modular building’s interiors for the first time Monday afternoon.

“It’s here, though, and it looks great. This is exactly what we wanted.”

The new 1,330-square foot building was lifted onto its foundation Wednesday, marking the beginning of the end for the project, which started more than a year ago.

The Federal Aviation Administration agreed to give the county a grant to pay for the project in 2007, but reversed its commitment in 2008, when Congress went into cost-cutting mode.

At the time, the project looked dead, despite contributions from the Colorado Department of Transportation and Department of Local Affairs.

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But, after a short period of uncertainty, the FAA returned to the table with the promised money.

The project appeared to have some financial stability, until construction bids for the project came in about $120,000 more than expected.

The FAA came to the rescue one final time, and agreed to grant additional funds contingent on a small match from local government, which was approved by the Craig City Council and Moffat County Commission.

The delays were not over, however.

The Nebraska-based manufacturer of the modular terminal wasn’t comfortable with releasing their product for commercial use without the state of Colorado’s approval. That was another six-week delay, Beck said.

“But, we beat the snow,” he added.

Beck anticipates the terminal’s final touches – such as utility hook-ups – should be done by Dec. 18, with the exception of the telephone lines. Qwest is waiting for CDOT to sign off on the project before it can move forward.

The new terminal is about 300 to 400 square feet bigger than the old one, which is in such bad shape that officials thought it was a wiser use of money to build a new one. The old building will be demolished in the spring.

Funding uncertainty also led to the delay of a planned parking lot repaving. Officials have said they would apply for funding to complete that project in 2009.

In the meantime, Beck said the new terminal is a great way to improve services at the only airport in Moffat County, often used by general aviation pilots and emergency service personnel.

“This will be a big help for the community,” he said.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com