Hangar project garners support

Flying in and out of Daniel Field could become a better experience for pilots and passengers if the airport's General Aviation Commission has its way. Commissioners pushed Tuesday for a plan that could include renovating the existing terminal and building two new hangars.

Funding the project would likely come from several sources, possibly including sales tax money from the city.

Board member Locke McKnight, the chairman of the project's exploratory committee, was asked to compile a master plan for the full commission's next meeting.

"If we want to be included we need to give some preliminary estimates on this project by the end of the month," Airport Manager Buster Boshears said at Tuesday's meeting.

Commissioners had considered scrapping the existing terminal for a new facility, but Mr. McKnight said a renovation is more likely.

"We feel like we can obtain the funding," he said. "Because of the history of Daniel Field, I think the renovation would be what Augusta would like to see more than putting a new building out there."

Commission Chairman David Fields said it's time the aging facility was updated to become more passenger-friendly by building an indoor walkway so customers would not have to walk outside to get to the terminal. He said he also hoped for a covered drop-off area and better security.

The "lean-to" style facility is essentially a late addition to the airport hangar it shares a wall with, and Mr. Fields said it lacks basic handicapped access and sprinklers for fire prevention.

"They're talking about the courthouse downtown, but this is just as bad or worse," he said, citing a leaking roof.

Apart from the city, Mr. McKnight said funding for the facility could come from the federal and state governments, in addition to the airport's fixed base operator, Augusta Aviation Inc.

The plan would include the construction of two new airplane hangars and updated security for the airport, he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT:

The committee will meet at 9 a.m. Monday in Daniel Field's conference room to discuss the approval of a draft for the project, Mr. McKnight said.