Airport welcome center update: on track for March 2018 occupancy

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 9, 2017 10:00 a.m.


Andrew Holesko

Andrew Holesko of Passero Associates, LLC, the city’s airport consultants, updated Fernandina Beach City Commissioners (FBCC) and audience members during the FBCC’s January 3, 2017 Regular Meeting on the status of the proposed municipal airport welcome center. Holesko presented a brief slide presentation showing that the project has evolved from the general concept approved last year. Holesko reported that site design is about 60 percent complete and building design is about 30 percent complete.

While the schedule for the design/bid award has slipped by a month, the occupancy date remains as originally planned: March 2018.


Conceptual rendering of proposed Fernandina Beach Airport Welcome Center approved by City Commission at June 21, 2016 meeting.

The overall concept for the building is the F4U-Corsair, which once flew out of the airport as part of World War II training. However, construction drawings show that the concept has morphed into a more conventional building seen from the ground, while the view from overhead more resembles a plane.

Building design at 30 percent as presented to FBCC m January 2017

The children’s educational area, once presented as a concept, is not currently included in the plan.

Cost estimating is currently underway. Holesko reported that interior design is currently limited to very basic finishes. He said that the Fixed Base Operator is interested in some upgraded finishes and options and may be willing to pay for such options or participate in cost sharing.

“We want to make sure that we bring the city some flexible bids so we can put those various pieces together to make the budget work,” Holesko said. Sources of funding are listed below:


Commissioner Len Kreger

Vice Mayor Len Kreger, FBCC liaison to the Airport Advisory Commission (AAC), expressed confusion over discrepancies in the current plan from the last plan presented to and approved by the AAC. He was concerned that dates in the plan appear to have begun slipping. Holesko explained that while the new Fixed Base Operator had been involved in developing the plan, the new airport manager had just gotten involved this fall. He said that with her experience she added value to the plans, thereby justifying the month of slippage in time before going to bid. “It would be very difficult for us [Passero Associates] as your airport consultants not to allow your airport manager to have input into these plans,” Holesko said. “That’s what happened in the October-November period. We did make sure that we were not pushing the occupation time out further.”

Kreger asked that during the next update in March, the FBCC also hear from the AAC chair and the airport manager.


Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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