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Craig Field hangars may get a face lift

Craig Airport is offering up two of its most attractive assets to future business.

The airport’s board on Thursday heard a renovation proposal from consultants at the architectural and engineering firm Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood in Montgomery.

Craig Field’s maintenance facilities, which include two of the airport’s largest hangars, are primed for improvements to make them flexible enough to support several aviation-related businesses.

The plan to improve the hangars and bring them up to code includes rebuilt doors, electrical system upgrades, repainting and refurbishing and addressing possible environmental issues.

“We’re trying to get the most bang for the buck for what we’re doing,” consultant Fred Lynn said. “What we’re trying to do is take the approach of tenant space. There’s certain amenities that you have in place for a tenant moving in, and then there’s certain other aspects that you leave open and ready for the next tenant. So you don’t overspend your money putting something in that a tenant coming in doesn’t need, doesn’t want and is going to re-do anyway.”

Work on the upgrade plan is a particularly special project for Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood airport planner Al Allenback, a retired colonel in the United States Air Force. He was part of the last graduating class at Craig Air Force Base in 1977.

“It’s fun for me to come back now that I’m retired from a great career in the Air Force that started here,” said Allenback. “It’s fun to come back and actually help by fixing up some of the big hangars.”

The board specifically considered the firm because of a tight budget, said Craig Field Airport & Industrial Authority Executive Director Menzo Driskell.

“We hope it costs $3.2 million dollars, hopefully less, because that’s all we have,” Driskell said. “Our funds are limited. We picked them because we thought they would be best able to bring us in under budget.”

Craig Airport Hangar 251 is capable of accommodating a C-130, a large, four-engine military aircraft. Hangar 255 can accommodate multiple aircrafts, either planes or helicopters. Both have available office space inside.

There is ample runway space and a 30-acre concrete parking apron.

The airport boasts more than 2 million feet of runway, according to Allenback, enough to fit 28 747s or about 78 737s.

The war overseas is in its fifth year, and the military keeps on the lookout for support services for repair.

“That’s a very, very harsh environment with that small, gritty sand that gets into everything — ball bearings, rotor blades, jet engines. All that stuff will be coming back to the United States to be fixed. Places like Craig Field maintenance facilities, who are ready to provide really nice hangars at a relatively inexpensive cost, I think would compete very well for this type of business.”