Airport Authority Still Seeks Bidders

Staff Writer

It is still possible for the Neil Armstrong Airport to have its new terminal ready to go by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

The timing is getting tight, though.

Tuesday’s meeting of the Auglaize County Airport Authority was focused largely on what steps need to be taken to get contractors to bid on the terminal project. So far, nine companies have purchased bid packets but none of the companies have submitted bids to demolish the old terminal and construct the new one in its place.

“A lot of contractors are out right now, their plates are full,” Steven Potoczak, project manager for Delta Airport Consultants, said. “They don’t want to bid on projects before they’re done with their work for this summer.”

Potoczak added that this is not a local issue, but it is a problem he has run into with another project he is working on at the Fulton County airport.

“I’m working on a snow removal equipment storage building and this will be the third time that is being bid out,” he said. “Even a small, little non-glamourus building, these [contractors] are still picking and choosing on the projects.”

Brad Garmann, founding principal for Garmann/Miller Architects-Engineers, was also on hand to speak to the airport authority about what he has heard from contractors about the terminal project.

To combat the issue of the high-demand summer season, Potoczak and Garmann suggested the airport authority wait to advertise the project again for a few weeks to allow contractors to finish their current workload. 

The airport authority is also hoping the delay will help stabilize the global steel market. 

According to Potoczak’s list of concerns from contractors, the uncertainty with steel tariffs and prices is causing contractors to shy away from projects that could have a high jump in costs. 

“Bidders are out there, they’re just not sure what price to bid,” Garmann said. “Prices will plateau but it’ll take time for things to settle down.”

In an effort to help ease the burden and make the project more attractive to bidders, the authority discussed the potential of purchasing the steel itself and having the contractors come put it together. 

The authority also proposed increasing the construction estimate $200,000 to make bids more feasible for companies to match.

To make the project even more enticing, the airport authority adjusted the wording of the project deadline from 270 calendar days to June 25, 2019 or 349 days.

“The clock doesn’t start until they’re physically out there working,” Potoczak said. “I think there was a misconception that the project would be on pause until the materials arrive.”

Potoczak said this misconception could put the airport in a bind because the contractors could consider the 270 days to be “working days,” meaning the winter days wouldn’t count which would push completion of the terminal into August 2019, after the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by the airport’s namesake.

The airport authority voted to adjust the wording of the project to reflect a deadline of June 25, 2019 for completion and it voted to advertise the project again Aug. 2 with bids opening Aug. 21 to allow contractors to finish their summer 2018 projects from other sites.