Flakes foul airport building

October 01, 1997


Staff Writer

A fire retardant sprayed inside the new shell building at Washington County Regional Airport is flaking and dusting, and fixing the problem could cost nearly $90,000.

Airport Manager Carolyn Motz asked the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday to approve spending $88,400 to cover the sprayed sections with metal panels.

The commissioners voted Tuesday to put the project out to bid instead of paying the project's general contractor, Myers Building Systems Inc. to install the panels.


The commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of seeking bids, with Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook dissenting.

Snook said he wasn't convinced the work could be done cheaper by seeking bids and didn't want to delay the project.

County Commissioners John S. Shank and R. Lee Downey told Motz that the building's tenant, Aero-Contractors, should pay at least a portion of the cost of solving the problem.

Aero-Contractors, a high-tech aerial photography firm, has a 10-year lease to use the $1 million, 21,666-square-foot shell building at Washington County Regional Airport.

Motz said the lease, which starts at $3.30 per square foot per year, brings in more than enough money to repay the loan on the building, and the cost of installing the paneling.

But Shank said he wasn't willing to sacrifice the profit on the building.

Shank and Commissioner James R. Wade said the building ought to have some warranty that would cover the dusting problem.

But Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said that the retardant spray normally gives off dust and therefore would not be covered under warranty.

Motz said the dust is especially bad for Aero-Contractors' sensitive electronic and photography equipment and could pose a safety hazard if the flame-retardant particles get into the fuel tanks and engines of aircraft stored in the building.

Motz said the state fire marshal required a fire suppression system in the building because of its size. The choices were a costly foam suppression system, or the spray, she said.

Aero-Contractors is an affiliate of Photo Science Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md.

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