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Chase Field renovations take flight
by Gary Kent
May 27, 2009 | 1058 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Workmen prepare a ditch that will hold wiring for new runway lighting at the Chase Field Industrial Airport Complex. The Dan A. Hughes Co. is providing the funds to light the landing strip at the former naval air station.
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The landscape at the Chase Field Industrial Airport Complex is changing.

Workmen have been busy in recent days erecting the framework and walls on a towering 15,000-square-foot hangar for the Dan A. Hughes Company just north of the control tower at the former naval air station.

The contractor, U.S. Western Steel of Corpus Christi, is building the hangar to house Hughes’ corporate jet.

The hangar may be the most visible improvement underway at the airport but it is not the only project being funded by Hughes.

The local petroleum company also is investing $523,750 in relighting the main runway at the facility and spending almost as much on pavement improvements on the runway and taxiway.

Workers with F&W Contractors of Floresville are pulling old wiring out of the underground conduits, checking the conduits and stringing new wiring and lighting fixtures and reflectors along the runway.

Bee Development Authority Executive Director Joe B. Montez said men on the BDA maintenance crew have gutted the old electric control building, removing transformers, switch panels and wiring so that new equipment can be installed.

Recently, workers were sealing up holes where the old wiring had been strung through the walls, sanding down the old paint and repainting the walls inside the building.

Montez said work is just beginning on improvements slated for the airport complex.

Thanks to funds from the Governor’s Office of Military Preparedness and a grant from the City of Beeville’s 4B sales tax fund, recommended by the Beeville Economic Improvement Corporation and approved by the City Council, work is expected to begin soon on improvements to some existing facilities now in use by Sikorsky Aerospace Maintenance and Kay and Associates.

That will include the construction of a $300,000 paint booth for the SAM helicopter maintenance operation and improvements on the fire station once occupied by the U.S. Navy.

Montez said plans are to spend about $100,000 on the fire station building. The structure’s roof will be replaced and some remodeling will be done inside the building.

In addition, BDA maintenance personnel are working on repainting the exterior walls of Hangars 24 and 25, where the SAM operations are located.

Montez said the BDA had budgeted about $100,000 for the painting project but when bids came in, the lowest bidder offered to do the job for $250,000.

The director recommended to the BDA board that he be allowed to handle the painting project himself and they agreed.

“We rented the equipment, hired some of the unemployed to paint both hangars and came within the $100,000 budget,” Montez said.

Montez said the BDA’s main engineering contractor, Larry Patterson of Patterson Engineers in Corpus Christi, is working on the specifications for the paint booth and for replacing the roof on the fire station building.

Montez said the paving contractor, Wagner Construction Co. of San Antonio, is expected to begin Gary Kent photo

Workmen prepare a ditch that will hold wiring for new runway lighting at the Chase Field Industrial Airport Complex. The Dan A. Hughes Co. is providing the funds to light the landing strip at the former naval air station. sealing the cracks on the asphalt paving on the runway and taxiway. After the cracks have been sealed, the company will apply a coal tar sealant to the runway and repaint the striping.

The director said the BDA plans to spend about $445,000 on pavement improvements. That also is being done with money provided by the Hughes company, bringing total expenditures by the local business to more than $1 million.
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