MANSFIELD – Improvements to the Mansfield Municipal Airport are getting off the ground.
Airport officials are accepting bids to build a new 5,000-square-foot administration building and to clear trees from the approach of two runways, said Lou Andrews, the chairman of the Mansfield Airport Commission.
Andrews said plans to demolish the existing administration building and build a new one in its place is part of a project by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division to build or renovate general aviation airport administrative facilities in 15 communities over the next five years.
An additional 11 airports are scheduled for construction, or renovation in 2016 through 2019.
Mansfield Municipal Airport on Fruit Street is among the first four airports targeted for construction of a new facility beginning this year. Others are airports in Beverly, Fitchburg and Southbridge.
Andrews said a new building is sorely needed.
“The current administration building used to be a house that was built in 1953,” Andrews said. “It’s an old building that hasn’t kept up with the growth of the airport over the years.”
The estimated cost of construction is about $3.4 million, 95 percent of which will be covered by MassDOT. Andrews said the remaining 5 percent will come from the Airport Enterprise Fund.
But, if the bids for construction come in overbudget, the airport commission will have to re-evaluate how to move forward, Andrews said.
The commission will read bids May 15.
As for other improvements, Andrews said the commission is also seeking bids to clear obstructions like trees from the approach to two runways, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. He said that project should take about a month.