Airport Commission: Consultant selected for upcoming project

The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission Thursday selected an engineering firm to provide consulting services on an upcoming redevelopment project.

The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission Thursday selected an engineering firm to provide consulting services on an upcoming redevelopment project.

The airport this year plans to undertake a general aviation redevelopment project, which includes multiple aspects. It includes relocating Federal Aviation Administration antennas, which in turn allows for the construction of a new general aviation arrival and departure facility for North Point Aviation, the airport's fixed-base operator. It could also include the replacement and relocation of an aging fuel system.

The agreement with the airport's existing consulting engineer, Mead & Hunt, included the design and construction of a new general aviation facility, airport director Steve Wright said. It didn't include the relocation of the fuel tanks, though, so the airport needed to submit requests for qualifications to engineering firms who could cover the project.

"If there's not an item that's involved in an original RFQ, that item needs to be requested again," Wright said.

Wright sent qualification requests to four firms and received responses from Mead & Hunt, Bollig, Inc. and a partnership between Widseth Smith Nolting and Hy-Tec Construction. He then scored the responses using a point system:


• Mead & Hunt, 128 points,

• WSN/Hy-Tec Construction, 113 points,

• Bollig, Inc., 89 points.

A motion to select Mead & Hunt as the consulting engineer passed on a 3-2 vote, with commission members Marty Johnson and Kevin Stunek voting against the motion. Both Johnson and Stunek said when they personally evaluated the proposals, Hy-Tec Construction was their first choice and Mead & Hunt was their second choice. Johnson didn't see a big difference between the top two firms, he said, and preferred to choose a local company.

"I don't have any problem with Mead & Hunt and what they've done for us in the past," Johnson said. "But they're not a local company."

According to the company's website, Hy-Tec Construction was founded in 1989 by Brainerd lakes area natives and the company's headquarters are in Brainerd. According to the company's website, Mead & Hunt was founded in 1900 by Daniel W. Mead and has more than 30 offices nationwide, with one office in Minneapolis.

Joe Birkemeyer, general manager at North Point Aviation, reiterated the company's desire to build a new general aviation arrival and departure facility. A lot of pieces in the project are intertwined, he said, and he'd like to see them move forward.

There's no immediate cost associated with choosing Mead & Hunt as the consulting engineer for the general aviation redevelopment project, Wright said. An engineering fee estimate will be developed as the project scope becomes more detailed.


In other business, the commission approved a new hangar lease with Life Link III, an aviation medical transport company. The commission at its December meeting had authorized Wright to develop a lease with the company.

Life Link III was able to find a hangar developer, Sutton Development Company, that already holds a long-term lease at the airport. Initially, the plan was for the Sutton Development Company lease to be assigned to Life Link III. Thursday, Wright recommended going forward with that plan, but then terminating the assigned lease and entering into a new lease with Life Link III. The new lease will have similar terms and conditions to the one the airport has with North Memorial Air Care, the other medical aviation transport company located at the airport.

The Life Link III lease will be a 10-year term with the ability to renew the lease for an additional 10 years. Instead of paying rent on a monthly basis, Life Link III will make one annual rent payment, a suggestion proposed by commission member Don Jacobson.

There are six Life Link III bases in Alexandria, Blaine, Cloquet, Hibbing and Willmar, as well as Rice Lake, Wis. Two helicopters would be housed at the Brainerd base, along with a fixed-wing aircraft which moves from base to base depending on where it's needed.

The base will employ one manager, five full-time nurses, five full-time paramedics, four full-time pilots and two full-time mechanics, for a total of 17 employees. If a second operation is added to the Brainerd base in the future, there would be 16 additional jobs.

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