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Morgantown Municipal Airport hangar project will stretch into 2019

MORGANTOWN — It appears as if three new hangars at the Morgantown Municipal Airport will not be completed until spring.
This according to an update provided by Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli.
Initially, the city hoped to have the work done in August. City Manager Paul Brake later adjusted the projected completion window to November. It now looks as if one of the buildings could possibly house aircraft this year, but the final touches, including paving, won’t be finished until the weather breaks.
The project has been behind since it began in the summer of 2017.  The heavy lifting was supposed to be subsidized by Air Force reservists through the federal Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program.
Brake explained that the reservists showed up without equipment and that the rotation of reservists, and their particular skills, never really lined up with construction progress. By the end of the summer, one of the three buildings was  partially complete.
The project consists of three buildings with space for 45 aircraft, including slots for 13 light twin aircraft, which, Brake said, isn’t offered anywhere else in the area.
The original $2.5 million price tag has been adjusted closer to $4 million, $1.6 million of which was already paid out of proceeds from the sale of the old Mileground armory property.
City council approved a  transfer of $2.2 million from the city’s capital escrow account in January to complete the hangars.  In May, council approved an additional $772,500 to contract with Lytle Construction on the project.
Brake has said that once the city can start collecting rent from the new hangars, the city’s funds will be recouped.
Muzzarelli explained that issues with rock and unsuitable  material below ground caused delays this construction season, as did a lack of a specific, FAA-mandated asphalt mix.
That said, she went on to characterize the project as being at a point “where we are kind of crossing off punch list items.”
The construction of the hangars east of the runway will fulfill an obligation to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through which the city secured funding for the access road that runs from W.Va. 857 back to the West Virginia National Guard Readiness Center.
The buildings will replace the airport’s existing hangars, which predate World War II and are largely no longer suitable for tenants. Brake noted tearing down those old hangars will free up valuable real estate.
“So there’s many opportunities to be looking at. So this is just the beginning of the expansion of the Morgantown Municipal Airport,” he said.
The hangar project is the opening phase of an overall airport expansion that is to include an extension of the airport’s runway.
The coveted extension is more than a decade in the making and  aimed at accommodating larger aircraft, like those used by many corporate travelers and WVU’s athletic department.
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