Terminal To Reach For Stars

The basement foundation for the new terminal at the Neil Armstrong Airport sits ready for the next step in the process. Steel is expected to arrive next week and the structure will go up soon after.
Assistant Editor

After almost two decades of planning, preparing and waiting, people driving by the Neil Armstrong Airport will soon see the immense progress the new terminal project has made.

The first small step in the project was the demolition of the old terminal building — a process that reportedly took only 26 minutes on a December morning — but the next giant leap will come next week when the steel frame starts to take shape.

“We’ve made a lot of good progress,” said airport Manager Ted Bergstrom. “The commissioners, IAP and Baumer (Construction) are all working really well together.”

Approved as the general contractor over the summer, Baumer Construction has been hard at work preparing the site of the new terminal and getting started on the 1,800 square foot basement. The decision to add the basement came late last year and Bergstrom said it will be used for storage only, saving the county valuable money.

“Since it will just be storage, it doesn’t have to be ADA compliant so that saved money there,” he explained. 

There was a minor setback in the initial pouring of the concrete when an unexpected soil instability was discovered in some areas around the basement walls. Termed water sand, the instability is caused when groundwater is higher than expected and causes loose, sandy soil to collapse. 

To counteract the water sand, Bergstrom said Baumer added extra concrete in susceptible areas to increase stability for the entire terminal.

With the basement ready to go, the next steps are to pour the concrete pad that will make up the main floor of the terminal and erect the steel superstructure. Both of those tasks are expected to begin early next week.

Although the project has yet to take complete structure, more detailed plans are already in the works for when the project is done. Bergstrom, the Auglaize County Airport Authority and county commissioners met on Tuesday to discuss the color palette for the terminal. The selected design includes a neutral color scheme — consisting of shades of gray that will give a modern look — and flooring materials have also been discussed with a mixture of carpet and tile planned for the main area.

As for the grand opening, Bergstrom is hoping the project will continue to stay on schedule, meet its June completion estimate and be ready for the Summer Moon Festival but he said either way, the new terminal will be celebrated the way it deserves.