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Missoula’s $67M airport terminal project remains on schedule, under budget

Missoula Airport terminal construction
Posted at 12:00 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 14:00:39-05

MISSOULA — Construction of the new passenger terminal at Missoula International Airport remains on schedule and under budget, leaving money in a contingency fund for future projects.

Airport officials this week said they’ll continue looking for other funding opportunities, which could enable them to take on less debt on the south concourse and move more quickly into construction of the east concourse.

“We know we’ll get coronavirus relief funds, we just aren’t really sure what that dollar amount will be yet,” said airport director Cris Jensen. “We’re hopeful we can add those to our terminal project. We still haven’t heard actual numbers or a timeline for when that will happen.”

The Missoula County Airport Authority this week approved several bid packages related to passenger seating, office furniture and digital displays, which together represent some of the final pieces of the $67 million terminal project.

The $458,000 bid for holdroom seating was awarded to Arconas. The new south concourse will accommodate around 500 passengers at any given time. Unlike the existing terminal, most of the seats will be powered, allowing passengers to charge electronic devices.

“The seats are much nicer than we have today, and certainly more seats will be available in the holdroom areas,” said Tim Damrow, the airport’s projects manager. “The majority of them are going to have power. As long as you have power in the floor, which most of these do, we’re set to go.”

The board also approved $342,000 for office furniture and $149,000 for digital displays. The latter will serve as airline ticketing, gate branding and wayfinding.

“You’ll see a transition to a lot more digital signage in our new facility,” Damrow said.

The airport budgeted $67 million for the overall project and with construction entering its final year, the work remains below budget.

Broken down, around $16 million was dedicated to demolition of the old building, and excavation and foundation work for the new facility. All the task orders in that phase have been awarded.

“There’s a small amount of work remaining, which is primarily our loading ramp, and we’re still carrying about $370,000 in contingency on that phase of the project,” Damrow said. “Everything has been awarded and is well underway.”

The airport also allocated $50 million toward vertical construction of the new terminal. Most of the task orders associated with that phase – the largest of the project – also have been awarded.

“We’ve awarded close to $50 million in work, with about $31 million remaining to be completed,” Damrow said. “We have a contingency of about $2.7 million still in the bank. We’re still good on all our balances there.”

Damrow said the airport dedicated around $2 million for furniture, displays and other fixtures. So far, the bids have lowered the cost to around $1.6 million, and there may be room to bring costs down even more.

“We’re getting much closer to our budget costs of $67 million that we’ve had for the project all along,” Damrow said. “We’re hoping at the end of the day, we’ll come in under this number if everything continues the way we’re seeing. All the numbers we’re seeing come in are looking good, so we’re excited about that.”