Cleveland Regional Jetport airport begins to take shape

Cleveland Regional Jetport airport begins to take shape

July 21st, 2012 by Randall Higgins in News

The skeleton framework of the future airport terminal building, left, was under construction Friday at the Cleveland Regional Jetport. The airport is scheduled to be open late this year. The view is from a portable cement plant operated by Hinkle Construction.

Photo by Randall Higgins/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The future Cleveland Regional Jetport is beginning to show what it will look like when it opens later this year.

From paperwork to construction work, contractors, consultants and the Municipal Airport Authority were moving ahead on many fronts Friday.

Sewer system construction is expected to begin Monday.

"Everything we have right now is on schedule," said Tony Manci, president of PDC Consultants.

The Airport Authority approved a contract amendment that allows work on a wetland mitigation area on Freewill Road to replace a wetland removed from the airport site.

"We will at last get that whipped into shape this fall," authority Chairwoman Lynn DeVault said.

From hangar sizes and rates to airfield lighting and security, the authority addressed issues of interest to future airport users and pilots.

The airport's new director of marketing, Mark Fidler, reviewed a marketing plan to attract and keep customers coming to the airport after its expected opening in November.

Fidler and airport authority members talked about airport-related businesses that might be interested in locating there. Fidler said he has been talking to the Enterprise car rental company.

He said Air Evac Life Team, a medical helicopter company, has expressed an interest, too.

"We will investigate that later as time allows," Fidler said.

Authority member Lou Patten said fundraising for public donors to help pay for the terminal building will be speeding up now. The steel skeleton for the terminal is rising above the asphalt outline of the runway and airport apron.

DeVault expressed concern about the terminal's heating and air system, called a variable refrigerant flow system.

Such systems are common in Japan and Europe but not in the U.S., she said. The system allows rooms to be heated or cooled simultaneously or shut off completely. Her concern is the system comes with no ductwork.

"You have a building expected to last 50 years, and it has no ductwork," she said.

But to change now, from the project engineer firm's plan, would mean a delay to rework the entire terminal design, others said. They chose to stay with the electricity-driven VFR system over reconsidering natural gas.