Future admin building presents more hurdles to airport authority

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Construction for the new Grand Junction Regional Airport's administration building has been stalled for several months now, but the project is throwing even more problems at the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority.

Financial problems were the first to get in the way of completing what's now a skeleton.

"The airport authority itself has about $4 million invested in this building because we were paying Shaw construction with the anticipation that the FAA grant would be approved," said Sam Susuras, representative for the Grand Junction City Council on the GJRAA board.

The GJRAA chose to withdraw from its first grant with the Federal Aviation Administration.

"The authority felt there were misrepresentations in that original presentation," Susuras said.

Then, the next request for a grant for the full amount of $6 million was denied.

"Getting the FAA to approve the full amount is a problem because once you start a building they have a real problem going back to the original date," he said.

Construction was halted and the elements have already started taking their toll on the structure, only to get worse in the winter if nothing is done.

"Some of those metal studs are starting to warp. The sooner we protect them, the less damage there will be," Susuras said.

A structural engineer walked through the building with Steve Wood, GJRAA chairman, and Shaw Construction a couple of weeks ago.

The engineer is evaluating the deterioration that's already happening to the building and how to winterize it for the oncoming months.

"We all take this very serious," Susuras said. "The board and the staff take it serious. We do need to move forward expeditiously in protecting this building from winter weather."

Once that report comes back, GJRAA will also have to figure out how to finance the completion of the project eventually. One idea is to use a private investor to hire a contractor, Susuras said.

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