Airport renovation cleared for takeoff

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Friday, June 1, 2012
— Work was expected to begin today on a nearly $1.5 million renovation of the terminal building at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport.

The project involves the demolition of part of the terminal and construction of a new exterior shell in its place.

It is the first of a four-project plan designed to modernize, enlarge and increase the functionality of the airport's 50-year-old general aviation terminal.

The state announced last month it would contribute nearly $1.2 million to the project, which will demolish the west side of the terminal building and build a new addition in its place.

The initial work, which was awarded to Gilbank Construction of Clinton, is funded through an 80/20 cost sharing agreement between the state and Rock County.

A second project next year will renovate the terminal building's east side, including a small addition. The final two projects are scheduled for 2014 and 2015 and include interior renovations, exterior paving and landscaping.

The subsequent projects are subject to funding availability, and the overall cost is estimated to be about $3 million.

Airport and county officials have said the renovation will address aviation and non-aviation needs, including handicapped accessibility, energy efficiency and modernizing the facility.

In response to a request from Rock County officials, Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, co-authored legislation to raise the cap on the amount the state can contribute to an airport improvement project from $500,000 to $1.25 million.

"The Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport is a critical part of our regional transportation infrastructure," she said at a groundbreaking event Thursday. "Modern facilities and amenities are important for the retention and recruitment of employers to Rock County, and this project will increase our economic development opportunities."

The terminal building, including Kealy's Kafe, will be open during construction.

Last updated: 8:53 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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