Airport Ramp Project Awarded

August 29, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — As expected, the Kent County Board of Aeronautics today awarded the Ford International Airport parking ramp and terminal building project to the Christman Co. of Lansing for a bid amount of just under $18 million. The project will include construction of a four-story parking ramp, as well as terminal building enhancements.

“This is the right project at the right time and at a fair and reasonable cost,” Board Chairman John Van Laar said upon the conclusion of the unanimous vote.

The $138 million project will be funded with $100 million in airport revenue bonds, plus $20 million in projected airport revenues.

The design consulting team of Gresham Smith & Partners had originally estimated a total project cost of $104 million, but the lowest bid — submitted by Christman — came in at nearly $118 million and the highest bid at $145 million.

Due to the $14 million discrepancy between the original estimated cost and the lowest bid, airport staff and representatives of the Christman Co. and Gresham Smith are looking at ways to reduce costs, said Facilities Director Thomas Ecklund. They have already identified $4.5 million in potential cost-saving measures, ranging from the deletion of some items to making changes in specifications, Ecklund said. The board awarded Christman the project with the understanding that certain items will be deleted or modified via change order to reduce the contract amount.

A proposed roof to cover most of the top level of the four-story parking ramp, which would have cost about $11.5 million, was nixed from the project. Aeronautics Director James Koslosky said the airport instead will close the ramp’s top level in the winter months during heavy snow periods, at least for the first few years.

“We are constructing a facility that, in the future, as we become successful with this — as I know we will — we can add a roof structure,” Koslosky said. “We can delay that portion of the project. It’s just another customer service amenity.”

Koslosky said staff looked into the cost of installing and operating a snowmelt system for the top level of the ramp and found it was more cost effective in the long run to put up a roof than to install a snow melt system.  

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