Aspen-Pitkin County Airport planning ready to resume |

Aspen-Pitkin County Airport planning ready to resume

Ryan Wondercheck

ASPEN — With an updated master plan for future development at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in place, drafting specific guidelines that dictate how new facilities look and function is the next step.

The county anticipates awarding a contract to TG Malloy Consulting, of Glenwood Springs, to lead a process that results in a set of design guidelines for future airport projects and conduct a study of ground transportation that focuses on how people get to and from the airport. The budget for the work is about $189,000.

The only other firm that responded to a request for proposals for the work was Design Workshop, according to Brian Grefe, assistant director of aviation at the airport.

Tim Malloy, of Malloy Consulting, was a subcontractor on the airport master-plan update. Commissioners gave final approval to the master plan in December and then decided to catch their collective breath before moving ahead with pursuing the design guidelines. Now, it’s time to move forward, airport administrators told commissioners last week.

The transportation study will look at how passengers access other airports that are comparable to Aspen’s as well has how travelers get to and from the local airport. The goal is identifying ways to encourage the use of alternative ground transportation and reduce reliance on private and rental vehicles and relating parking.

The design guidelines will direct various elements related to future development at the airport, whether it’s the new commercial terminal envisioned in the master plan, a second fixed-base operator or anything else.

“This will be the defining document on what anything we might construct at the airport will look and feel like,” said Jim Elwood, aviation director.

The guidelines will dictate everything from architecture and landscaping to visual impacts and energy-efficiency requirements, he said.

An advisory committee will be appointed to provide input as the guidelines are developed; the makeup of that group is expected to be the focus of a discussion with commissioners in the coming weeks.

Oct. 29 is the target date for completion of both the transportation study and the design guidelines.

Meanwhile, at the terminal

While the airport master plan establishes space for a new commercial terminal, upgrades to the existing one can’t be avoided.

Improvements to the fire-suppression system in the building are necessary at a cost of about $440,000, commissioners were told. Upgrades to the sprinkler system have been made already, but more are necessary, according to Grefe.

“We’ve identified roughly five areas in the terminal that need work to bring it up to current code,” he said.

Commissioner Rachel Richards questioned whether the airport is looking at short-term fixes since replacement of the terminal is part of the county’s long-term vision.

The airport is seeking the right balance between safety and cost, Elwood responded.

“This project could easily cost many times more,” he said. “We think we’ve found the right balance.”

Airport projects are funded through grants and airport revenues; the facility is not supported by county tax revenues.


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