Sunday, September 29, 2013

Schuylkill County's Joe Zerbey Airport (KZER) aims to enhance area

MOUNT PLEASANT - Schuylkill County's Joe Zerbey Airport is getting more than just elbow room with its new hangar.

"Not only are we going to get hangar rent, but a lot more fuel sales which can be more than the rent," Bill Willard, airport manager, said Friday.

The Schuylkill County Airport Authority recently started advertising for bids on the project. Bidding was delayed due to the state Department of Transportation's Bureau of Aviation requiring three separate contracts for the project.

The proposed hangar will be the largest one at the airport at 96 feet by 83 feet and 28 feet high, and will add some much needed space.

"We're out of room," Willard said, noting that all the hangars are currently full.

The new facility will also allow the airport to house corporate-sized planes, Willard said, adding that capacity to the airport will attract larger airplanes to use the facility and possibly convince the businesses to set up shop in Schuylkill County.

"This is a gateway for businesses and potential jobs," Willard said.

It also helps with another goal at the airport.

"You want to lure larger aircraft here for those reasons, and last but not least, to help get the grant for the runway extension," Willard said.

State grants to extend the 4,600-foot-long runway at the airport are predicated on a certain number of turbine-powered crafts 12,500 lbs. or more passing through the airport.

Separate, sealed bids for the contracts are due at the airport by 1 p.m. Oct. 10 and will be publicly opened and read at that time. A cashier's check or surety bond for 5 percent of the total maximum bid price is required with each proposal. Three different companies can end up working on the project.

The first contract is for general construction that includes the building, foundation, floor slab and site work. The second is for electrical construction that includes the installation of electrical service, main distribution panels, wiring, receptacles, boxes, switches and conduit and lighting fixtures. The third is for mechanical construction that includes installation of propane gas service, interior propane fired infrared heaters and controls and a carbon monoxide detector system.

The total cost of the hangar is estimated at $800,000. The airport received $400,000 in state grants over the past two years for the project. The remaining cost will come from the airport's match on the grants.

Gov. Tom Corbett awarded the first grant, $300,000, in February 2012. An additional grant, $100,000, was awarded this past February.

A pre-bid conference will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday to outline the engineering specifics for potential bidders.

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