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North Adams Airport Hangar Project Price Increase
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
06:12AM / Thursday, March 23, 2023
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Airport Commission will see a $163,000 increase to the North East Hangar renovation project. 
Engineer Peter Enzien gave his report to the commission Tuesday and noted that the hangar project will be a little more costly than originally anticipated with a new estimate of $642,000.
"I think we need a new estimator," Commissioner William Diamond said. "That is what I think."
Originally the rehabilitation of the city-owned hangar at Harriman & West Airport was estimated to cost $350,000. But the original bid actually came in at $479,000.
Enzien said the general contractor has offered their actual quote now that they have gone through the property. This includes the $163,000 change order.
The bulk of the increase is the change from a roof repair to a full replacement. Enzien said once the contractor took a closer look at the roof, they saw that wall girts and roof purlins (both horizontal structural supports) needed to be replaced.
Enzien said to do this work, the contractor will essentially have to pull the roof so it made the most sense to just replace the roof to the tune of a $145,000 increase.
"Basically a new roof system," he said. "For the number of purlins that need to be replaced and the amount of roof that would have to come off to replace those purlins, it just makes sense to replace the entire roof." 
Also, the city had planned to handle some of the demolition in-house, however, some of this work had to be handed off to the contractor at a cost. 
As demolition went along, insulation was discovered that needed to be cleaned up.
"They found a new layer of insulation that had to be removed," Enzien said. "It was blowing throughout the airport and surrounding neighborhoods."
This is an $18,000 increase.
Enzien said he met with state Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to go over solutions.
"We reviewed funding and how we will be able to cover those costs to map out a plan that would work for the project," Enzien said.
Firstly, he said the city plan to use the remaining $57,000 in the fiscal year 2023 COVID-19 relief bill funding. Prior, the city had only planned to use a portion of this funding with the rest earmarked to put towards completing the proposed airport restaurant space.
"It is resulting in the reprioritization of some of the projects on the CIP, and that is something that we will have to look at in the next few months," he said.
He said the FAA amended their grant adding another $34,000 to the overall amount and MassDOT kicked in another $54,000.
All in all, the city's share has increased by $17,000. The city's total share of the now $642,000 project is $52,000.
Administrative Officer Katherine Eade said the city is committed to the project and can carry the increase. 
In other businesses, the city has paid a $5,000 invoice to Village Towing who righted an airplane that flipped during heavy winds in December.
Last month, the commission pumped the breaks on paying the invoice in hopes of discovering a way to recapture some of these funds from the plane owner who has been unresponsive.
However, to maintain a good relationship with the towing company the city has paid the invoice but has also invoiced the plane owner. 
Eade said the owner has not paid, and the city can now place a lean on the aircraft.
Airport manager Bruce Goff gave his report and said he has been working through the badge directory and reissuing badges to active airport users and culling inactive users.
"I don't know who is going to want one again, and there is a lot of cleanup," he said. "There were a lot of inactive people and deceased people. So we will see. We will get it done."
Currently, 53 badges have been or are in the process of being reissued. Badges that have not been updated will be removed on April 1.
Goff said he did his best to chase down users and anyone who at least starts the renewal project before April 1 will not be locked out.
Goff said he had to close the airport for a few hours on March 3 when a Pilatus PC-12 touched down. Upon landing, its left brake locked up, causing the tire to skid down the runway before exploding. The plane took a hard left toward the grass where it stopped.
"They were able to stop the plane 12 inches from departing the runway. Twelve inches from the grass," Goff said. "That was pretty close."
He said a second plane with a mechanic came with spare parts.
He said the initial incident happened at 1:35 p.m. and he reopened the airport at 4:35 p.m.
He thanked TurboProp, which immediately offered its assistance.
There was no damage to the airport or injuries.
Goff also recommended a few fee changes that he said would put the airport in line with others.
"I think we are a little short on some of these," he said. "We have been the same for a while, and I think these increases are fair."
He first suggested getting rid of the distinction between commercial and private aircraft noting that the definition of an aircraft should only be determined by weight.
He suggested implementing an overnight parking fee and increasing tie-down fees from $35 a month to $50 a month with an additional $20 a day for the use of electricity. 
He suggested changing T-hangar leases from $250 a month to $300.
The commissioners agreed to table the discussion until the next meeting so they were able to gather input on the changes. Commissioner Daniel Caplinger asked Goff to take a closer look at Pittsfield airport fees noting it is probably a better comparison.
The commission had planned to reorganize but with an incoming new member to be approved by the City Council, decided to table the agenda item.
Caplinger, who is stepping down from the commission, assumed the new person would be his replacement, making Tuesday his last meeting. 
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