Thursday, January 16, 2014

Upper Cumberland Regional Airport (KSRB), Sparta, Tennessee: Frigid weather delays hangar construction

Airport board chairman Will Roberson, right, discusses hangar construction delays at the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport as airport engineer Richard Rinks, left, and pilot Mark Dymond look on during Tuesday’s board meeting. 

UPPER CUMBERLAND — Bitter cold days — complete with plenty of snow and ice — have slowed hangar construction at the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport.

It is January, after all.

But airport engineer Richard Rinks said the three-hangar project is moving along “as well as could be expected” under the frigid circumstances.

“Obviously, they are fighting the weather,” Rinks said of the construction team at UCRA’s monthly board meeting Tuesday.

“They’ve got all three footings and two slabs poured, which is a minor miracle... They’ve got the wire mesh and everything set to pour the last floor slab, but we don’t want to pour it and then let it turn cold, which is what (the weather) is fixing to do.”

Rinks also reported that contracts have been executed on a couple of grant amendments — one approving the board’s request to extend the apron portion of the new hangar project; the other to repair runway cracks.

“Even though we’re building three hangars, we’re going all the way to the end with that apron,” Rinks said.

In past meetings, it was discussed that by paving beyond what was required for the current project, the airport would be in an ideal position for adding more hangars in the future.

“So that’s good,” Rinks said of the amendment. “We can now do that by change order.”

The other amendment allows for the repair of cracks in the asphalt along the runway.

“We’ll start that and bid it when the weather breaks,” Rinks said.

Board member Mike Atwood asked, “How are you going to fix it?”

Rinks then explained that four to five inches of asphalt would need to be cut away from the edge of the runway. Afterward, topsoil would be added, and it would be seeded for grass.

On another note, airport manager Jim Kmet reported that UCRA sold 5,823 gallons of fuel in December.

“It’s a little slow when you look at the other 11 months, but it’s better than last December, and this is the first year in over three years we haven’t run negative gallons sold,” he said.

Board member Herd Sullivan said, “So, it’s usually slow in December anyway, right?”

Kmet agreed and added, “But we’ve stopped a negative trend in fuel sales. Total gallons over the years were continuing to drop up until 2013.”

In other business, Kmet and board chairman Will Roberson updated the board on a lease agreement between UCRA and William Dunn of Cookeville, who proposed building his own 75x80-foot hangar at UCRA.

“This lease is unique and exciting for us because it’s rare that somebody comes along and wants to build a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar facility on your property, which will eventually become the airport’s facility...” Roberson said.

“He’s offering to do something not only in his interest but also in the airport’s interest.”

Board members discussed some wordage that may need to be changed but ultimately decided to pass the lease on to the board’s attorney for review “with a view toward finalizing it.”

“We certainly want to do everything we can to encourage (Dunn) to proceed with his plans,” Roberson said.

“It sounds pretty exciting what he’s about to do. It’s going to be a really neat facility and a really great addition to the airport.”

Board members Paul Bailey, Randy Wallace and Kim Blaylock were absent from the meeting.

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