Airport Authority considering SPLOST project recommendations

The $2 million airport terminal favored by Griffin-Spalding County Airport Authority members is modeled after this terminal, currently in use in Cherokee County.

The $2 million airport terminal favored by Griffin-Spalding County Airport Authority members Is modeled after this terminal, currently in use in Cherokee County.

SHEILA MATHEWS :::

The Griffin-Spalding Airport Authority (AA) has compiled a list of projects that may be recommended as potential projects for the upcoming 2014 SPLOST referendum. The costs of the projects, depending on the exact specifications selected, would range from $2,075,500 to $4,082,000.

Each of the projects is designed for use at either the existing airport or the proposed new airport, should that project come to fruition.

Included are four projects including the replacement of the Spalding  County Sheriff’s Office military surplus fuel truck with a mobile fuel pod at a cost of $8,500; the replacement of  the airport’s 10,000-gallon aviation gasoline tank at a cost of $45,000; the replacement of two field tractors and associated cutting decks with costs ranging from $22,000 for a 45-horsepower tractor with a six-foot cutting deck to $28,500 for a 55-horsepower tractor with a six-foot cutting deck; and the replacement of the fixed base operator terminal.

There are two options for the terminal replacement: a 22,000-square-foot all-purpose facility would come in at $4 million, but a replacement including a 10,000-square-foot limited-use facility would cost only $2 million.

AA Chairman and Griffin Commissioner Dick Morrow said he views the terminal replacement as a vital airport need.

“Our terminal is in terrible condition,” he said. “It’s an embarrassment.”

Morrow said if the terminal is not approved as a SPLOST project, the existing terminal must be renovated in the near future at taxpayer expense.

It is expected that the AA board will approve the recommendation of the limited-use facility.

Although he was instructed to craft a presentation including both the more basic and the expansive facilities, Airport Director Robert Mohl said the limited-use 10,000-square-foot terminal – which is modeled after the one in use in Cherokee County – will meet the needs of either the existing or new airport.

“The 22,000-square-foot terminal has the whole nine yards. It is top-of-the-line for a non-commercial airport,” Mohl said. “The $2 million terminal is still nice and would give us what we need.”

Describing it as “more of a single-purpose facility,” Mohl said the $2 million terminal would include fixed-base operator management offices, office space that could be designated for such uses as a map room, flight instructor and pilot offices and meeting rooms. It could also be configured in a way that would allow the inclusion of a small café.

Should a new airport terminal be selected as a project for the upcoming SPLOST referendum, it, along with all the potential projects, could be implemented at either the current or new airport site.

“If, and that is a humongous if, the new terminal is on the SPLOST, it wouldn’t be built for five or six years,” Mohl said. “We wouldn’t build it unless we knew one way or another if we’ll be moving, and hopefully that answer will come later this year.”

The Airport Authority will vote on its final project recommendations at an upcoming meeting.

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