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Augusta Regional Airport construction seeks additional funding

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A construction project at the Augusta Regional Airport that is behind schedule and over budget goes before the Augusta Commission today seeking more money for construction changes.

A new general aviation terminal for private planes and military aircraft has had 57 recommended changes, including the amendment up for approval and six previous change order contracts.

The contractor, Choate Construction, is seeking more than $78,000 for parking lot landscaping, additions to I.T. service areas and exterior and interior finishes, including a granite fireplace hearth.

The terminal construction project was involved in a lawsuit against the city last year that contended the procurement process known as “construction manager at risk” uses subjective rather than objective criteria, a violation of state and local law against competitive bidding and an undue cost to taxpayers.

During a 2011 hearing on the lawsuit, City Administrator Fred Russell testified that he supported the use of construction manager at risk because the city can save money and get projects done more quickly.

The terminal bid was originally given to R.J. Griffin & Co. on March 30, 2011, for what was to be a guaranteed maximum price of $4.7 million. When Griffin was unable to commit to no more than that amount, the city chose the next qualified bidder, Choate Construction.

According to the contract between the city and Choate Construction, the project was budgeted for $5.04 million and was to be completed by March 14.

Six previous contract modifications cost more than $131,000. If the change order is approved today, the projected cost will be 2.1 percent more than budgeted.

The city’s public services committee made no recommendation on the change order during its regular meeting June 11.

Diane Johnston, director of marketing for Augusta Regional Airport, said construction should be complete this month.

The new building, located south of the commercial terminal, features a main lobby, a business center and lounge for pilots, a conference room, an employee area, bathrooms and a kitchen, Johnston said.


Other items under consideration by the commission at its meeting today include:

• A motion to hold retail alcohol license fees at existing rates during 2012 but conduct a public hearing on raising the fees later

• Refunding $98.9 million in water and sewerage bonds and reissuing the 2002 series bonds and up to an additional $40 million for new water and sewer projects

• A motion to concur with the Augusta Planning Commission’s decision to deny a rezoning request by L.P. Mays Family Partnership for construction of an apartment complex at 1213 Augusta West Parkway.

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