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A new taxiway and apron in the top right corner will provide tenants at Boone County Regional Airport with additional space for hangars.
A new taxiway and apron in the top right corner will provide tenants at Boone County Regional Airport with additional space for hangars.
The taxiway and apron on the right is finished, and this drawing shows potential future hangar and apron infrastructure development north of the terminal. The project was completed at no cost to Boone County or the airport. The project was primarily funded through an Arkansas Department of Aeronautics grant. Geogrid fabric was laid prior to the contractor placing the apron's base. The new apron is 125 feet by 180 feet. A student from North Arkansas College rolls in the subgrade prior to the apron's construction. While Heavy Constructors of Arkansas laid the base for the apron, students from North Arkansas College provided rock excavation services on the far side of the taxiway. A new taxiway and apron in the top right corner will provide tenants at Boone County Regional Airport with additional space for hangars.

Beneficial Partnerships

Airport, college and community join forces for apron project

Boone County Regional Airport in Harrison, Ark. had two out of three components available to build new corporate hangars: property north of the terminal and interested tenants. However, there was no in-place infrastructure to provide access to the planned hangars, and the cost to construct a 315-foot-long taxiway and apron was beyond the airport's budgeted capabilities.

Despite the financial obstacles, the airport now has a new hangar area and connecting taxiway, as well as a reconstructed parking lot for the airport's fixed base operator, Fly-Arkansas. Four entities worked together to construct the new pavement, and the project was completed at no cost to Boone County or the airport.

"With no infrastructure available for a tenant to economically build a hangar, prospective tenants were faced with financing a 315-foot taxilane and apron in addition to the hangar costs. This made hangar construction economically unfeasible," said Airport Manager Judy McCutcheon. "Due to limited funds, we had to figure out a way to obtain the capital funds to finance the project and cash flow the project during construction.

"Now that the community has come together to provide the taxilane and apron, we have space for three new hangars," she said.

Garver's aviation team in Fayetteville worked with the airport to find a solution to the airport's expansion goals. The airport and Garver held a meeting in summer 2011 with airport board members, county officials and North Arkansas College (Northark) to discuss a unique approach: apply for a matching state grant to fund the project and provide the airport's matching funds through student labor by Northark. Northark has previously donated in-kind labor and equipment for use at the airport. To handle the local financial requirement, Boone County agreed to cash flow the project until the airport received reimbursement from the grant.

"All parties approved the plan, and the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics subsequently awarded an 80-20 matching grant to the airport," said Garver Project Leader Adam White, PE. "The grant also funded all reimbursable items to the college, including fuel and equipment repair."

After Garver completed the surveys and design, more than 30 Northark students provided in-kind labor for earthwork, geogrid placement, landscaping and erosion control. This included 5,000 cubic yards of earthwork and 2,800 square yards of topsoiling.

"Our mutual relationship allows the airport to provide a unique construction opportunity to college students while the airport receives the benefit of in-kind labor," McCutcheon said.

The students working on the project are part of a construction equipment operation certificate program at Northark. Part of their education is learning how to properly operate and maintain heavy equipment by working on job sites located within Northark's service area.

"The experience our students gained by working on this project is invaluable," said Don Tomlinson, who teaches construction equipment operation at Northark. "We appreciate the opportunity to team with the airport and look forward to continuing this partnership on future projects."

Heavy Constructors of Arkansas, a local contractor, built the pavement section for the 315-foot-long taxiway and 125-foot by 180-foot apron, which included placing more than 1,500 tons of asphalt.

"Expanding the apron is another step forward for Boone County and the City of Harrison," said Airport Board Chairman Bob Reynolds. "This project will help increase the airport's revenue and make this area more attractive to potential businesses."

In all, Northark provided an equivalent of more than $112,500 of in-kind labor, and the rest of the $562,500 project was funded through the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics grant. Boone County Quorum Court agreed to provide funds to cash flow the project, and Boone County was reimbursed through the grant.

"We're proud to support Boone County Regional Airport as they continue to grow their facilities and support our county," Boone County Judge James Norton said. "It is a win for our citizens when we can support a project of this magnitude at no financial cost to the community."

McCutcheon said the airport is already seeing the long-term benefits. "Multiple parties are interested in developing around the new apron and hope to start constructing new hangars in the near future."

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