County contracts for overall improvement designs
By Katherine Nettles
The county has agreed to go ahead with a schematic design for improvements to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, and signed an agreement with architectural firm M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. & Associates on September 3. Gunnison County sustainability officer John Cattles said the schematic design would give the county what they need to solicit a construction manager this winter.
The improvements are based on a 10-year master plan for the airport that began in 2015 and includes facility improvements and a terminal expansion as outlined in the Gunnison County Strategic Plan.
“What you’re going to see from now through January is a few concepts,” Cattles explained to the commissioners. “Then we will be testing those concepts against all the problems that have been ongoing at the airport.”
Cattles said his staff would whittle the ideas down to perhaps one or two. The architectural agreement also ensures cost estimate safeguards, so in the event that a construction manager estimates costs that do not match those in the schematic design, the architect agrees to adjust those designs accordingly.
“This will show what it’s going to look like, how it is going to be built, what the mechanical systems, electrical systems and plumbing are,” said Cattles. “It’s a high level view with enough detail that then when we are going out to solicit a construction manager/general contractor they can give us estimates of what the cost is going to be. If their estimates don’t line with the estimates we’ve been getting from the architect … the architect has to redesign and bring the whole schematic design into budget.”
“It really gets cost information into the design early,” said county manager Matthew Birnie.
Cattles also noted that while the schematic design will address “all the problems,” the county might pursue only one aspect at a time as the budget allows.
“We have a really great architect. I’m really excited to start working with him. So, here we go, we are launching into the design for real now,” said Cattles. “By January or February we should be in a position where we are ready to go solicit general contractors and really put a plan together.”
“It’s a good approach. I really do think it’s fiscally responsible,” said county commissioner John Messner. “Although it would be nice to just take care of everything if we had that $22 million,” he joked, referring to a ballpark figure of the overall renovation costs if they were to be done all at once.
The commissioners approved the agreement unanimously.