Daniel Field renovations take shape

Airport upgrades aim to give guests a nicer welcome

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When Masters guests landed at Daniel Field airport this year, they saw "Pardon our Progress" signs and had to use portable, air-conditioned bathrooms.

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Renovations to the terminal at Daniel Field include asbestos removal. The project is scheduled to be completed in November.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Renovations to the terminal at Daniel Field include asbestos removal. The project is scheduled to be completed in November.

Next year will be a different story.

"The first thing people want to see when they get off the plane is a bathroom," said Becky Shealy of Augusta Aviation Inc. "The new building will have nice bathrooms and nice waiting areas for the public that's in line with the true representation of Augusta."

Major renovations and expansion work are under way on the almost 60-year-old terminal. The project is scheduled to be finished in November.

"It's a good thing, because it will bring us into the year 2011," Shealy said. "Airports are a major gateway to any city. When people get off the aircraft, what they see is their first impression of the city, and it's a lasting impression."

Funded by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VI, the construction is by Pinnacle Custom Builders Inc. and includes asbestos and curb removal, replacing a spiral staircase with an elevator, new finishing on the floors, and a large, open room with two balconies for large crowds, events and a lounge area for pilots.

The airport was remodeled once in the 1970s, but still needed a lot of work to bring it up to Americans With Disabilities Act accessibility codes, Shealy said. Because of its age, it basically was a lean-to. The renovated terminal will be 30 feet larger in the front and the balconies resemble gable-style windows.

"Architect Virgo Gambill kept it in line with the old Southern style houses of the city," Shealy said.

The new building also will house the offices of Augusta Aviation, the fixed base operator of Daniel Field. During the renovation, the offices and terminal are set up in a temporary 3,400 square foot modular office.

"Obviously, we'll appreciate getting back in the new terminal," Shealy said. "It's exciting to remember what the old terminal looked like and that we are building where it was. Being in the same spot is sentimental."

Shealy is the interim airport manager, replacing Edward Toney, who started in January 2010, but resigned four months later to take care of a family matter.

"It had nothing to do with the city or the airport," Shealy explained. "He left on very good terms."

The General Aviation Commission, whose members are appointed by the Augusta Richmond County Commission and the Richmond County legislative delegation, oversee operations of Augusta Aviation. Shealy said the airport generates revenue for the city through its customer base who pay ad valorem taxes and fuel sales tax.

"If the airport were not here, those pilots and customers would have to go somewhere else and pay taxes there and get fuel there," she said.

According to the City of Augusta's Web site, the airport brings in several hundred thousand in taxes each year, and employs approximately 50 people.

Comments (8) Add comment
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madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 06/13/11 - 07:13 am
0
0
If the pilots and customers
Unpublished

If the pilots and customers are such a boon to the tax base of Augusta, why was the project paid for by SPLOST? Isn,t this really a project for the upper crust to park their play toys at taxpayer expense? Its funny but I don't recall a SPLOST vote that was worded to let us know we were being asked to rebuild this terminal.

gmt
79
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gmt 06/13/11 - 08:13 am
0
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no.no.no
0
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no.no.no 06/13/11 - 08:23 am
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The Augusta Commission and

The Augusta Commission and Procurement, AGAIN, should be proud that they have brought another "Atlanta General Contractor" to WORK !!!

usafvet
3
Points
usafvet 06/13/11 - 08:48 am
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0
Madgerman. well, I am a mad

Madgerman. well, I am a mad Augusta taxpayer who I guess by your definition would be one of the rich boys with the expensive toys that are absolutely taxed as such. If you really want to get mad, look into the taxes coming in from those people down town versus what is paid out in their areas. It would take us away from taxation without representation if our voting power could somehow be based on our contributions to the areas in which we are voting for representation. You envious people who do not own a plane and pay the exorbitant taxes on them should not have any say so in some of the decisions.

noway
201
Points
noway 06/13/11 - 08:57 am
0
0
I hope these bathrooms are

I hope these bathrooms are made bigger than the ones at Bush Field, where you have to straddle the toilet to close the door and you must leave your bag outside of the stall. Good times. Good planning.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 06/13/11 - 09:20 am
0
0
Well put usavet. What we

Well put usavet. What we have right now in this nation is Representation without Taxation.

I say if you don't pay federal income taxes, you lose your vote until you do. You should not be able to sit at home, not work, take benefits from the U.S. taxpayers and cast a vote for someone who will give you more. Look at what that has done for us! It has swelled the ranks of those paying no federal income taxes to almost 50%. Not cool.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 06/13/11 - 10:54 am
0
0
Wow... how the upper class is
Unpublished

Wow... how the upper class is so mistreated. NOT! I'm sorry your taxes on your planey waney is so high... I'll just keep paying my little bitty tax on my 2000 pick-up truck and keep voicing my opinion to quit giving the upper class what they want and have them pay their fair percentage of taxes.

justthefacts
20376
Points
justthefacts 06/13/11 - 11:03 am
0
0
Right on Chillen.

Right on Chillen.

Clux99
0
Points
Clux99 06/13/11 - 11:05 am
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madgerman, the list of every

madgerman, the list of every project that is to be funded by a SPLOST is listed and made available to the public (on the AC, the city website, etc.). It's your fault you didn't read it...

majterry2000
0
Points
majterry2000 06/14/11 - 01:42 am
0
0
Daniel Field has represented

Daniel Field has represented a small income source for Richmond County for years. Rent. Fuel taxes. Salaries. Well run and supported by many federal grants, it's one of the best airports in the region. Augustans should be proud. For hundreds of people who enjoy flying as a hobby it's more convenient and often less expensive than going elsewhere.

Roads are paid for with tax dollars. Twin Lakes near Aiken is a local private airport, but most airports are funded with taxpayer dollars. Thomson's airport got a very nice new terminal a few years ago. Aiken has had a nice new terminal for several years. Daniel Field represents the face of Augusta to people who fly in (Bush Field only offers the "scenic" industrial landscape of the sewage treatment facility...) The trucking industry is subsidized by taxes 'cause they get free roads to drive on. The airline industry is subsidized by taxes 'cause they get free airports to land on. Ships have taxpayer-provided harbors. Railroads are the only means of transportation that are NOT subsidized by taxpayers.

It's about time Daniel Field's terminal was built. The original served Augusta well beyond its years. Job well done, long live the new terminal and best of luck to interim manager Shealy as she follows in the footsteps of Buster Boshears making Daniel Field an airport the entire community can be proud of.

PS Doctors get taxpayer-funded hospitals to practice in, too.

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