Looking to lure more commercial and personal airplanes to St. Cloud Regional Airport, officials are planning for a hangar expansion that could be constructed in late 2018.
Not only could the expansion help attract businesses to the airport, it would help meet demand for space, according to Bill Towle, airport director.
“The growth is just happening faster than we anticipated — which is a good problem to have — but we are almost full,” Towle said.
The St. Cloud City Council approved Monday a professional services agreement with Wisconsin-based Mead & Hunt Inc., for design services relating to the expansion. The project began last year with an environmental assessment on land northwest of the existing hangar.
“It’s the next logical expansion area, just kind of adding on to the area we already have,” Towle said of the city-owned land.
The fee for the design services is about $297,000, with St. Cloud responsible for 5 percent, or $14,850, of the project. The Federal Aviation Administration would be responsible for 90 percent of project costs, and Minnesota Department of Transportation responsible for 5 percent.
The city will submit a grant application to MnDOT by Friday and to the FAA by July 1. If the city is awarded the grant, the final engineering report is expected to be completed by April 2018, with construction expected to be completed by November 2018. A separate grant would be required for construction, Towle said.
Towle said he feels confident the grants will be awarded, and said the city has been working with the FAA throughout the entire process.
The expansion would allow the city to build additional hangars for individuals to rent, as well as space for St. Cloud Aviation to lease. The city has about 60 T-hangars, with about 55 of them filled. St. Cloud Aviation is a fixed-base operation that provides services for transient airplanes such as leasing space, and providing instruction and maintenance.
The expansion would also allow shovel-ready space for businesses with private corporate jets to build hangars. Towle said he has been approached by businesses but has not had space to offer.
The airport has about 25,000 operations — take-offs and landings — each year, according to Towle. He estimated about half of the operations are corporate and half are single-engine planes for instruction or pleasure. A small fraction of overall operations are for commercial airlines; Allegiant Air offers flights to Phoenix, Arizona.
The council also approved Monday an agreement with Mead & Hunt to provide construction administration services for the hangar-area taxi lane pavement rehabilitation project. St. Cloud’s project cost is estimated to be $78,500. The council also approved the low bid from Hardrives Inc., for the project, with St. Cloud’s project cost estimated to be $410,000.
The pavement hasn’t been updated since the mid-1980s, Towle said.
“We’ve been trying to nurse that along, and it’s getting to the point where it’s failing,” he said. The project is generally a mill and overlay, but will include some grade changes for better drainage and storm drains so water is able to move under the pavement, Towle said.
Next year, the city is planning to reconfigure part of the taxiway to align it with FAA design standards. The project would reconfigure a five-node intersection to bring it into compliance.
The council approved Monday an agreement with Mead & Hunt to provide preliminary engineering services for the project. The fee for design services is $174,500, with St. Cloud responsible for 5 percent of project costs ($8,700).