H’town advances airport terminal expansion

SARANAC LAKE – Contractors have submitted their bids on the town of Harrietstown’s plan to expand the terminal building at the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear.

The town board voted unanimously Thursday to approve the list of bidders for the project, although Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua said the board wasn’t awarding the bids just yet.

“We’re just making this a shovel-ready project in case the funding comes through (from the Federal Aviation Administration), so we’ll be ready to go,” he said.

“The money could become available tomorrow,” said Councilman Barry DeFuria. “If it became available and we don’t have the paperwork here, they’ll go right over us and we’ll probably get bypassed.”

The project involves construction of a 1,700-square-foot addition to the terminal along with renovations inside the building. One of the goals, town officials said, is to create a larger waiting area for passengers once they’ve been screened by agents from the Transportation Security Administration. The current waiting room is small, crammed and doesn’t have a bathroom, Bevilacqua said. That means passengers have to leave the secure area to go to the bathroom and come back through the TSA checkpoint to return to their seats, he explained.

“We’re making a larger waiting room in the front, a better flow for the customers when they come in to get their tickets and go through the TSA, and a separate spot that is secured where they will be waiting for planes, with a bathroom,” Bevilacqua said.

“There will be about 20 seats in the (new) security area,” said Councilman Barry DeFuria. “Now there’s only, like, five.”

More space is needed because TSA wants to install new passenger screening equipment in the terminal, DeFuria said. He said the agency wrote a letter of support for the expansion project to the FAA.

The airport’s current commercial airline is Cape Air, which provides daily round-trip service to Boston on nine-seat planes. Councilman Ron Keough said creating more space in the terminal could make the airport more attractive to larger capacity planes, particularly charters that bring athletes and other groups to Lake Placid.

“The way TSA is set up now, they couldn’t handle that process,” Keough said. “To facilitate the future and hopefully bigger planes, that’s what the benefit would be from it.”

The terminal expansion project would cost $1,018,010, although town officials were quick to point out that 95 percent of the cost, $967,000, would be paid for by the FAA if the project is approved. The town’s share would be roughly $25,000.

Meridian Construction was the low bidder for the general construction contract at $613,230. Brockway Mechanical had the lowest bids for mechanical and plumbing, at $89,898 and $28,282, respectively. S & L Electric was the low bidder on the electrical contract at $178,500.

If the project is funded, DeFuria said the work could begin in the fall. The expansion would be done in phases to allow TSA to operate on a day-to-day basis, he said.

The town is also planning to replace part of the roof on the terminal. DeFuria said the board may combine that project’s cost with the town’s share of the terminal expansion and bond for it.

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.