Larry Patterson, consulting engineer for the BDA’s project at Chase Field, explained that the contractor working on the paint booth building was told that the structure would need a new concrete foundation.
Patterson said the original plan was to install the paint booth on the existing concrete pad. However, when the people responsible for the installation of the booth arrived at the job site, they realized that there was too much of a slope on the pad.
“He didn’t think he could shim the booth up enough to make it work,” Patterson told board members.
“Basically, this will be just a big chunk of concrete within the paint booth building,” Patterson said.
BDA Executive Director Joe B. Montez told the board that either Sikorsky Aerospace Maintenance or Kay and Associates, the two companies for whom the booth is being built, would pick up the cost of the job.
Later during his director’s report, Montez outlined the paint booth project for the board.
He said Maltby Builders Inc. of Kingsville has begun the construction phase of the building. Local subcontractors hired for the project include Rice Plumbing and Scott Electric.
ATR Paint Booths is installing the booth itself, Montez said.
Funding for the project is coming mostly in the form of state and local grants.
The largest source of funding is expected to be a $371,000 grant from the Governor’s Military Preparedness Commission in Austin. Another $325,000 is coming from the City of Beeville through 4B sales tax funds.
The Beeville Economic Improvement recommended that funding, Montez said.
Sikorsky Aerospace Maintenance and Kay and Associates are putting up a combined $469,000 for the project and $4,000 is coming from the BDA itself.
The contractors have a June 1 deadline for completing the project. Patterson said he had talked to contractors recently and had been assured that the project could be completed by that time, even with the delay caused by the need for the change order.
Once completed, the paint booth will become the property of the BDA.
Montez told the board that he has received encouraging news from Regional Administrator Pedro Garza of the U.S. Economic Development Administration concerning an application for a $1.2 million grant from that agency.
However, Montez said he also had been told that the amount of the grant had been reduced to $1 million.
Montez said U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa has been working to improve the BDA’s chances of being awarded the grant. He said Hinojosa is expected to come to Beeville in the near future to tour the Sikorsky operation.
The director said that money, if awarded, will go to upgrade offices and shop facilities in Hangars 24 and 25. He said much the improvements would be directed toward improving the air conditioning systems in the shops and offices. Currently they are air conditioned with window units but the working environment in those rooms would be improved by installing central air and heating systems.
Montez said he and Patterson have been working on changing the plans for the improvements to the offices and shops to keep the project within the reduced budget.
“Sikorsky is very safety and environmental oriented,” Montez said. So the projects are important to the company.
“I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” Montez said of the federal grant. He said the authority had predicted that improvements on the Sikorsky facilities would help the company create 150-200 new jobs and that has already happened.
“We’ve already met or exceeded the threshold,” Montez said.
The director told board members that work on installing new lighting systems on the runway and improving the pavement was completed and the contractor and engineers had been paid for their work.
He said officials with the Dan A. Hughes Co., which put up $1.2 million for the project, had reported that they were happy with the results of the improvements.
Hughes keeps four corporate aircraft at a new hangar at Chase Field and flights have been taking off and landing day and night.
Montez said the BDA still has about $60,000 in escrow from that project and he has started work on having Global Positioning System equipment installed at the airport.
Also, the Federal Aviation Administration has given the BDA approval to upgrade the airport from visual flight rules to instrument flight rules, which means pilots will be able to land there using instruments.
Upgrading to the IFR level will cost the BDA something between $40,000 and $50,000.
In addition, the FAA is asking the authority to provide another airport plan so its runway can be extended from its current 6,000 feet to 8,000 feet.
In other business, the authority board approved engaging the services of Lovvorn and Kieschnick to audit the BDA’s finances for the fiscal year ending on Dec. 31 and heard Montez report recent activities regarding his involvement with the Regional Military Alliance and regional economic development efforts.