LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - The Lawton Fort Sill Regional Airport is launching into the first phase of construction to update its terminal.
The design for the renovation was completed earlier this spring and a financial plan is now in place. At their last meeting, the airport authority approved a $15-million limit for the project which will be broken down into three phases.
"That is probably a little more than we are going to need, but it'll cover just about everything and the cost of construction never goes down," said Barbara McNally, Airport Director.
The airport authority brought the Public Finance Law Group out of Oklahoma City on board.
“They put together a plan using private activity bonds,” said Jennifer Ellis, Lawton Airport Authority Chairperson.
“They work with the Oklahoma City airport, and they work with the City of Lawton,” said McNally. “So, I think we’re headed in the right path now. We have a funding mechanism in place.”
The airport authority plans on issuing bonds for each phase of the renovation.
“We’re not going out of the gate with $15-million,” said Ellis. “We’re starting with the first phase.”
“The first phase is going to include the baggage claim area and related areas,” said McNally.
“So, that will be built with restrooms,” said Ellis. “The work on the outside with the cover so there is better coverage for people in the weather.” T
he first phase is estimated to cost about five-million dollars.
“So, we’re coming with two million so we’re probably just going to be financing three to four million the first time around,” said McNally.
“That will be repaid with our FAA money we get every year which is about a million dollars,” said Ellis. “So, that supplemental income will be used to repay those bonds. But we also are still going to continue to go after FAA grants, supplemental funding, other discretionary funds so we can continue to pay that down as quickly as possible.”
It’s expected to take about 12 months before phase one is complete.
“The other phases are going to be a little bit longer because they are going to be a lot more detailed,” said McNally. “Every inch of the airport will be rehabbed or reconstructed.”
“It is a gateway for a lot of our visitors who come into our community and it needs to be a reflection of how great our community is," said Ellis.
The project will go out for bids in June.
"The bid opening is slated for the end of July,” said McNally. “Then the Airport Authority will need to take action approve the low bidder and that will probably be at the August meeting and then we are looking at September, October beginning of construction.”
“In some ways the renovation has already begun because we have a great new restaurant in there,” said Ellis. “That’s really one of the first improvements that have already been made for the airport.”
The airport director expects all three phases to be complete in four to five years.