By JILL SCHRAMM - Staff Writer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Minot Daily News
New, more modern hangars, a redesigned taxiway and a vehicle preparation facility for rental car companies are among proposals being examined in a 20-year master plan for Minot International Airport.
"We have built a beautiful building here that's going to serve our needs into the foreseeable future," Airport Director Rick Feltner said of the brand new $43 million terminal. "We don't plan to make any changes here. But there's the rest of the airport that needs attention."
The airport hosted an open house with display boards to introduce the public to the planning that is occurring. Public input is sought to help guide the process going forward.
Replacing the deteriorating hangars built in the 1950s with new hangars is one of the priorities at the airport.
"We need to figure out where we should put some new hangars, what that funding would look like and where you would put the occupants in the meantime," said Deanna Stoddard, airport operations manager.
Another item being looked at for the short-term is a quick turnaround facility for rental car companies. Currently, companies must take vehicles off airport premises to have them prepped for customers, often having to cross Broadway. Having a facility on the airport would be safer and more efficient.
Replacing an old taxiway that had been converted from a former runway to better meet federal standards is another goal. There's also work needed in storm water management and in cooperation with the fire department to improve the airport fire station. The master plan study also is reviewing cargo handling facilities to see if improvements can be made.
Not all proposals would require airport spending, said Kent Penney with the consulting firm, KLJ. Some developments on airport property might include private investment.
Also, during development of the master plan draft, it was determined that an existing plan to someday move an east-west runway farther east isn't necessary. The concern has been that the safe zone at the west end of the runway extends off airport property and across Broadway. However, a review showed the airport's north-south runway is adequate to accommodate larger planes in any wind conditions, allowing the east-west runway to be primarily for smaller planes with shorter safe zones. That keeps the safe zone from extending off the airport and saves a major construction expense, Penney said.
Much of the purpose of the master plan, though, isn't to identify projects but to guide potential development and ensure that development is orderly and space is maximized. Various options were presented Wednesday for doing that.
"We have developed alternatives and we have narrowed things now to the point where the airport is trying to determine what the proper alternative is," Penney said.
People can find out more by going to the airport section at minotnd.org.