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FAA grant awarded for airport upgrade, commissioners to vote next week

By NICK BUDD
Hays Post

According to I.D Creech, director of Public Works for the city of Hays, the city is “in the process of finalizing the final details” before construction begins on the renovations at the Hays Regional Airport. Recently, the city found out that its Federal Aviation Administration AIP Grant, which will fund approximately $920,000 of the project, was accepted by the FAA. If accepted by city commissioners next week, the city will provide the remaining $466,552.

Hays Regional Airport

Hays Regional Airport

The amounts are a slight increase from the figures that were presented at the May 22 commission meeting. When the application was submitted, the FAA added in approximately $1,500 worth of administrative costs. The grant was originally for $918,783, and the city’s match was $466,402 before the costs were factored in. The city will pay for their portion from three different funds: $203,557 from the Airport Improvement Fund, $60,800 from the Airport Operating Fund, and $202,195 from the Capital Projects Fund.

Creech said that once everything is signed, the city will work with Paul Wertenberger Construction, the winning bidder for the project, to move the project along quickly

“Once the grant is signed, we would move as rapidly as possible to secure the contract with (Paul Wertenberger) and go off their schedule as quickly as possible,” Creech said. “We’ll be ready to start as soon as they get the project together.”

Creech said that the city wants to have the temporary wall, which is included in the project, installed by the time SkyWest Airlines begins offering commercial service on Aug. 1 in order to have a secure holding area big enough for the airline. SkyWest will be using 50 seat Bombardier-manufactured CRJ-200 aircrafts for its service to Denver.

Commissioners also discussed the engineering contract with Burns and McDonnell at Thursday’s work  session. Because the project is an FAA project, there are certain guidelines the city must follow in order to comply with federal regulations. The engineering consultant will help the city oversee the construction oversight and provide the proper documentation at a price tag of $165,000. Approximately $98,000 will be funded by the FAA and the remaining amount, approximately $67,000, will be funded by the city. The cost is included in the final price tag for the entire project of $1,386,685.

“The inspection of a $900,000 FAA project is beyond the city’s capacity,” Creech said. “(Burns and McDonnell) inspected the concrete work that we had done for the runway and that’s as close as we can get to being able to deal with the FAA ourselves, and we don’t have nearly have the initials after our name to do that.”

“There’s a lot of procedure to follow when dealing with FAA projects,” City Manager Toby Dougherty said. “Burns and McDonnell is very adept at doing this type of project. They’ve done most of the work on our airport projects.”

Commissioners are expected to vote on accepting the grant and oversight contract next week.

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  • Frequent Flyer

    We will see if the new carrier is any better than Great Lakes. So far the experience is that the fares are MUCH higher than in the past and that the choice of flights on out of Denver are much more restricted than they were with Great Lakes / Frontier! Hope I don’t have to keep flying MHK, but I have my doubts!

    • UR Confused

      How can your experience be that “the fares are MUCH higher in the past,” when service doesn’t begin for another 40 days? A quick check of United.com shows round trip fares at $194, which is less than the $100 one-way price estimated when SkyWest (United Express) bid on the route, and the $238 that Great Lakes used to charge.
      And how does the Hays carrier have any bearing on your choice of flights onwards out of Denver… you can fly United, Southwest, USAir, Frontier, American, Alaskan or any number of airlines out of Denver. The flights arrive in Denver at 7:03 am and 2:03 pm, plenty of time to get on most 8-11 and mid-afternoon connections.