Article by Tim Jacobson

Boscobel’s Airport Commission members, including CEDA team member Tim Jacobson, and other city officials met on the site of the general aviation terminal building under construction to review progress and to select finishing materials.

In June, GW Granger Construction of Richland Center broke ground on the construction of the new 1,800 sq. ft. terminal building. Already, the footings have been poured, the framing has been completed, and sheathing is in place. When finished, it will include a training room, pilot’s lounge, vending/kitchenette area, restrooms, utility room, lobby space, and vestibules.

“I’m really pleased with progress on the building,” said Peter James, president of the Airport Commission. “It’s going up fast while also being built well.”

“It’ll be great to have a beautiful and practical new terminal to greet business people and other visitors who fly into our airport,” said Mayor Steve Wetter. “The old terminal building was constructed in the 1950’s. It served us well but exceeded its useful life.”

Until recently, the project had been fraught with difficulty and delays. Originally, the state announced approval of the terminal project for completion in 2014 with federal airport improvement funds to cover the majority of the cost.

With the initial set of plans, bidding was conducted three times without success. The first time, no bids were received.  The second bid process resulted in bids being about double the original estimated cost. The third time, bid amounts still exceeded funds available. Commission members felt that the costs were not realistic for a community of Boscobel’s size.

“Part of the difficulty was that this federally funded project came with the extra red tape one might expect,” according to Ken Schweiger, a local banker and commission member. “But we were intent to keep the project alive while containing costs.”

The Airport Commission worked with Paula Groom, Project Manager from the Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics, along with Federal Aviation Administration representatives, to seek a creative solution that would save tax dollars.

Ultimately, Boscobel perhaps became the first airport in the state to be given the opportunity to use a request-for-proposal (RFP) process in these particular circumstances, which provided the city and contractors with much more flexibility. With these changes, three proposals were received at a much lower projected cost. The Airport Commission and the Bureau of Aeronautics ranked the proposals, and GW Granger Construction’s proposal was selected, with the lowest base building cost and lowest overall cost.