Board discusses details of terminal project

By 
Hunter Herbaugh
Sunday, October 3, 2021
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Construction workers frame the new terminal building at the Dawson Community Airport a few weeks ago. The framing is now complete with the trusses for the roof added this week. Hunter Herbaugh photo

Construction of the Dawson Community Airport terminal is well under way but a discussion on a proposed change was held at the Airport Board meeting on Tuesday regarding a door in an awkward spot.

Construction of the terminal began in late June and is expected to be completed around March 2022. So far, the floors have been poured, the walls have started to go up and the trusses for the roof were added this week.

“It’s starting to look like a building,” Airport Manager Craig Hostetler said to begin his update on the project’s progress.

Overall, the plans for the new building have been completed for some time now. The last major discussion regarding the composition of the facility was back in January, before the project was put out for bids. At that time, the Transportation Security Administration requested additional rooms for training employees. This request frustrated the airport board as the project plans were already approved and the budget for the project is tight. That issue was settled quickly though, leaving the plans unchanged.

Since then, there have been some changes to the plans, though they have mostly been small and haven’t resulted in any cost increases. Primarily, the layout for the pilot’s lounge saw some change, with the planned counter on the wall being replaced with a table in the room instead. The vending machines are also being relocated to the lobby so that a wall can be moved slightly to make the room just a little bit bigger.

The conversation on Tuesday mainly centered around the location of a supply closet door, as it is in the clearing area past the TSA security check point. Due to this location, access to cleaning supplies will be limited for airport staff, since they won’t be able to enter the area while there are cleared passengers waiting for their flight. To access the closet while passengers are there, a staff member would have to be escorted by TSA.

Another inconvenience is that the door is located at the opposite end of the building from the offices, so there’s a bit of distance between them.

Despite the inconvenience though, it was decided leaving the door where it is would likely be the best choice as the only other option is to move the door so that it connects to a room full of electronics.

“I guess what it boiled down to is it would just be easier to go ahead and keep this door here,” said KLJ Engineer Craig Canfield, who has been working on the plans for the building. “This room (next to the closet) is the airfield lighting room, so it’s full of electrical stuff. It didn’t really make sense to put a door here where the mop sink could overflow and run water through our airfield lighting room. While I guess it’s not ideal, TSA is generally okay with it.”

Hostetler also stated he does not want to take any actions that might result in cost increases this early in the project.

“I guess that might dictate how much I have to mop the floors. It’s gonna add a little bit of walking, but the door is already in, the opening is already in, it could be changed, but it comes with a change order and a cost. It just didn’t seem to make sense at this point to change things that didn’t need to be changed,” he said. “When (TSA) go through and do their initial security check prior to clearing passengers, that will be part of their initial check, to make sure that door is secured, so it’s really not costing anybody any time or effort by having that there.”

In other news:

•Airport Board Member Craig Stebbins was informally nominated as the second chair representative for Glendive for the Essential Air Services Task Force. The nomination came after Stebbins attended an EAS meeting in Billings recently where he had to step in and place a vote for the EAS chairman, as he was the only person from Glendive present at the time.

Hostetler said that Stebbins was a good choice to represent Glendive on the Task Force as he has proven to be a valuable representative already.

“You have been a voice for us and have been involved all the way,” Hostetler said.

However, the board did not have a quorum, so no official nomination was made and a vote was not had on the matter.

Reach Hunter Herbaugh at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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