Auburn Municipal Airport Hangar Project Moving Forward

Monday, September 18, 2006
Auburn Municipal Airport hangar project moving forward after numerous setbacks
New taxiways expected to be completed in 30 days
By Jenna Nielsen
The Auburn (CA) Journal

Auburn Airport City officials expect the construction of 65 new hangars at the Auburn Municipal Airport to start as soon as next summer. The new hangars are part of the East Area Hangar Project,which has been in the works since 2001 and is the result of increased demand for aircraftstorage in the area.

The project, now in the early phases of construction, has seen numerous setbacks that have caused delays and increases in costs.

Now, taxiways are being built and Jack Warren, Auburn public works director, said they are expected to be completed in about 30 days.

“We are about 35 percent complete and should be finished before the rains come,” Warren said. “We hope to have someone (a new contractor) on board for the next phase by the middle of October.”

Once that is complete, city staff will begin putting packages and proposals together for private business or investors who might be interested in building the hangars.

“The project will not go out to bid,” Warren said. “This is a negotiation with a company who will build the hangars for us in exchange for shared income.”

Warren said the project is more of a negotiation between the city and a private building company that would build the hangars for them.

“Ultimately, the city will take over ownership of the hangars,” he said.

Jerry Martin, Auburn Municipal Airport Manager, said the hangar space is needed in Auburn and that progress is coming along great.

“We have a very, very strong demand for aircraft storage,” he said. “I have more than 100 people on a waiting list right now and we have people that are currently storing aircraft in Lincoln and elsewhere who would be in Auburn if we had the space.”

Auburn resident Carol Uhouse said the project is a great thing for the area. She and her husband Victor have been pilots for 15 years and stored their plane at the airport before recently selling it.

“There has always been a great need for hangars,” Uhouse said. “This project has certainly been long and coming and there is still a great need.”

The increased demand for hangars necessitated redesign work earlier this year, as did restrictions from PG&E. Redesign work upped the cost and delayed the project. The project was later shut down in November 2002 when the construction area was causing excess water run-off.

City staff then had to scale back construction due to lack of grant money and borrow from the city’s general fund to afford the project, which went out to bid at $1.4 million.

Downsizing the phase II construction also allowed the city to receive more Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) money and bring the overall cost down.

In the meantime, Martin compiled a list of airport users interested in hangars and in February 2003, a notice was sent to them requesting a letter of commitment and a security deposit.

The project took a step forward this April when the City Council unanimously approved a $1.1 million contract with Central Valley Engineering Asphalt to lay down the infrastructure for the construction of more hangars.

Originally estimated to cost $1.4 million, increases in material costs were cited for the jump in price.

Martin said the city has already invested $2 million is design and construction work.

“Once infrastructure is in, we can lease the area for private developers to come in,” said Auburn Mayor Mike Holmes. “We have a lot of people who want hangars and a lot goes on out there and we have a lot of businesses that use small aircraft to bring people in and out. I have always thought of that airport as a jewel for the city.”

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