Airport renovations will give Iowa State wings

Shannon Mccarty

Editor’s note: The previous version of this article has been updated to correct an error that stated the new terminal and hangar would include an addition of flight training this fall. In reality, flight training has been offered at the airport for more than 40 years. 

Iowa State will be provided new opportunities once the Ames Municipal Airport undergoes its $2.9 million update — a project that includes a new terminal and hangar.

“We see this project benefiting a number of university-related activities,” said Warren Madden, senior vice president for business and finance.

Madden said there have been a number of students interested in doing flight training, a service offered since around 1975. 

“We think that’s another activity that adds value to Iowa State,” Madden said.

The existing terminal at the Ames airport was originally built in 1972 and was last renovated in 1997.

“It is time to upgrade the facility,” said Steve Schainker, Ames city manager. 

At the July 14 City Council meeting, Madden spoke about the current condition of the airport’s terminal.

“Our existing terminal building is not a building that impresses anyone,” Madden said. “If you have a chance to go to any of the schools we’re competing with, the current building is not a building that helps sell and market Ames and Iowa State.”

In addition to a new terminal, a new hangar will allow a place out of the elements for the visiting corporate planes.

Originally, the Ames City Council delayed awarding a bid for the airport’s site preparation contract because the cost was approximately $200,000 more than the city’s five-year capital improvements plan.

The council was concerned about the effect the new terminal would have before approving the site preparation contract.

The project’s architect engineer informed the city the new terminal would cost approximately $548,000 more than previously estimated. This made the project an estimated $750,000 more than what was budgeted for.

Ames City Council agreed to put $250,000 into the project if Iowa State agreed to give an additional $250,000.

With the airport being adjacent to the growing ISU Research Park, Iowa State agreed to fund $250,000 toward the project. The university plans on raising those funds.

One option to remove the remaining $250,000 was to reduce the terminal from 6,970 square feet to 5,358 square feet.

Last week, the council decided to hold off on preparations to begin designing a smaller terminal in order to allow the Ames Economic Development Commission two weeks to raise the remaining $250,000.

If the commission does not raise the $250,000, the city will begin designing the 5,358 square-foot terminal.     

The old terminal will remain standing until the city can fund a separate project for demolition.

The new hangar is projected to begin construction this winter and to be done sometime in the spring.

The council has approved a $772,499.10 contract with Absolute Concrete of Slater, Iowa, for the first phase of progression on the site.

Construction of the new terminal is estimated to begin sometime next summer and could progress into next November.   

The entire project is estimated to cost $2.9 million, assuming the commission does not raise the remaining $250,000. Schainker is hopeful of the possibility the project will cost less.

Schainker said the new terminal and hangar will help set a better image and will accommodate those who come to Ames for business.

“It is the front door to our community,” Schainker said.