From ashes comes opportunity

Sublette County Unified Firefighters attempt to put out a fire at Pinedale Airport Oct. 12. The fire remains under investigation

Airport plans building improvements when rebuilding from the fire

PINEDALE – While the cause of a fire to an equipment storage facility at the Pinedale Airport remains under investigation, the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Commission has offered to advance improvements slated for 2020, so they could be completed at the same time as rebuilding the facility.

Airport Manager Jim Parker spoke to the Pinedale Town Council at its Nov. 26 meeting. He said WYDOT, which oversees the state Aeronautics Commission and airport funding, had planned on improvements to the storage facility in its 2020 plan. However, with the facility destroyed by fire, it would actually be less expensive to incorporate the upgrades, including a larger overhead door, insulation, improved lighting and a floor drain, in a new building rather than attempting to add the upgrades to the old building.

WYDOT agreed to move up the schedule but that means the council needed to act immediately, approving the grant application so the Airport Board could do necessary advertising

and bidding procedures before the state’s Dec. 17 meeting.

WYDOT requires the project be advertised in a statewide newspaper, and to have construction bids completed before approval.

The council approved the grant application, of which the state will pay 90 percent for the building upgrades. The town is still negotiating with the insurance adjuster for the replacement cost for the old building and damaged equipment. While the insurance adjuster initially said the replacement cost is $70,000, Parker said the three contractors he has spoken with said the replacement cost would be closer to $145,000 to $160,000.

It is important to separate the replacement costs, paid for by insurance, from the upgrades paid for by the WYDOT grant at 90 percent and the town’s match at 10 percent, he said.

The council also approved a motion to work with Jeremy Gilb, an engineer with T-O Engineers, despite his estimated cost of $48,000.

Mayor Matt Murdock said the $48,000 – $24,000 for designing the reconstructed burned building and $24,000 for designing the upgrades paid by grant funds – was a very high percentage for engineering costs.

Gilb said the costs were higher because he needs to work on a short schedule and has had to negotiate Federal Aviation Administration rules.

Gilb said they would be using standards established by Universal Building Codes rather than standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration, which would save the town money. Since no federal FAA funds are being used, and the facility was used to store equipment rather than planes, the regular codes would be acceptable. He said FAA codes are so stringent that many contractors would not bid on the project. n


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