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Regional airport terminal should be finished by May

January 28, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Construction on a new terminal at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport is halfway finished and should be completed by May, barring more inclement weather, an airport official told the Berkeley County Commission on Thursday morning.

Since a notice to proceed was given in July 2004, $480,000 has been spent on the project. Local construction company W. Harley Miller Contractors Inc. is building the two-story terminal, Airport Manager Bill Walkup said.

Walkup said construction was delayed for about two weeks because of bad weather, while equipment-related delays and needed changes to the original project caused another couple of weeks of delays.

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The terminal will replace an existing building that is more than 50 years old and inadequate when it comes to meeting travelers' and pilots' needs, Airport Authority Chairman Rick Wachtel has said.

Along with a baggage area, ticketing space, administrative offices and a lobby, the new terminal's second floor will contain a full-service restaurant.

Separate bids will be sought to finish construction on the second floor, Walkup told the commissioners.

The terminal also will house a museum that contains items related to the airport's history.

County Commissioner Steve Teufel asked whether airport officials plan to offer in-state flights, specifically to Charleston, W.Va.

Wachtel said he hopes to have a feasibility study to determine whether offering such flights is practical.

"We are doing our best to get scheduled service," he said. With all but a few of the nation's major carriers in financial difficulty, however, it could be difficult, he said.

A feasibility study might indicate the county's population is not large enough to support commuter flights to places like the state capital, Wachtel said.

Commissioners also asked the status of a proposed air show. An air show planned for last year had to be canceled because of a lack of funding.

Wachtel said that at its meeting next week the Airport Authority will consider holding a smaller-scale air show this year. If Airport Authority members accept the proposal, it calls for increasing the size of subsequent shows over the next few years, he said.

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