Airport construction to begin in May

By Lauren Ratcliffe
lratcliffe@scbiznews.com
Published April 30, 2013

Construction on Charleston International Airport’s $200 million renovation project is slated to begin in late May or early June after the Charleston County Aviation Authority awarded two contracts and approved a work package in a special meeting Monday.

Construction on Charleston International Airport’s $200 million renovation project is slated to begin in late May or early June. (Photo/File)
Construction on Charleston International Airport’s $200 million renovation project is slated to begin in late May or early June. (Photo/File)
“Today is the happiest day I’ve had since January,” said Andy Savage, authority chairman. “We finally got through the issues that sidetracked us. I thought today was a breakthrough day.”

On Monday, the authority voted 5-2 to award a construction administration contract to Fentress Architects, the project’s architect. The $7 million contract also includes a $1 million contingency fund to allow for mishaps and unintended expenses that may arise from construction in multiple parts of the airport at the same time. Teddie Pryor and Larry Richter voted against the contract.

The authority’s decision on the contract was delayed by a dispute in March. Members questioned a competing bid from the redevelopment’s project manager, Michael Baker Corp. Baker withdrew its bid after it was revealed that an individual member may have attempted to steer work to a specific subcontractor within the bid. That prompted an inquiry by Savage, which is ongoing.

As project manager, Baker worked with airport staff and Fentress to agree on a price for the contract that was approved.

The board also unanimously awarded S&ME Inc. a $330,000 special inspections and materials testing contract. The Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Project Committee had recommended awarding the project to Terracon, whose bid came in at $328,000.

Authority members chose to award the contract to S&ME because it had been the lowest bid earlier in the process before the authority chose to use a state contract for the services and looked at unit pricing listed with the state.

A work package, or phase of construction, was also unanimously approved. Site work for the project will begin in the next few weeks followed by the construction of a rental car pavilion on the west side of the terminal and the addition of a third baggage claim carousel.

Austin-Hitt, the construction manager, had been waiting for the authority to approve the work and contracts before it could lock in subcontractors and begin overseeing the construction.

Previous coverage

Committee recommends approval for airport redevelopment contracts
Airport redevelopment project could face delays
Airport committee defers contract decision, inquiry continues
Charleston airport committee to take up contract that led to controversy
Charleston County Aviation Authority chairman to investigate member activities

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