By Nick Woodruff
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Stillwater Airport Authority keeps spreading its wings a little further with the southeast hangar project.
The B-2 standard T-hangar is still in the preliminary process, but it keeps edging closer to becoming a reality. The authority must first answer some questions before it becomes a done deal.
The main question that must be answered before the authority can approve the hangar project is the financial questions. If the authority and the city of Stillwater invest in the hangar, will it be a worthwhile investment and be able to pay for itself?
Stillwater Airport Director Gary Johnson said the airport is always in need of more hangar space. At Thursday’s meeting, Johnson said he wanted the authority to approve a phase construction approach for the hangar.
The construction of the hangar will be in four phases, with the first phase costing the most but also establishing the most, Johnson said. Johnson compared the project to the airport being built in 1952.
Phase one would build aprons for the first T-hangar and also establish the drainage and electrical system for the whole project.
Phase two would add more aprons and slots, and phase three would add the second set of T’s to the T-Hangar.
Phase four would be the final project but would be one of the smallest — it would build hangars on the withstanding end.
The authority discussed the project and compared it to an idea in 1952.
In 1952, the city took a chance and built an airport building and a tower on top of that building. In 2002, the tower came in use and the airport has been gaining steam ever since, Johnson said.
Even though the airport authority knows the more hangar space will help bring more people to Stillwater, the authority can’t afford it on its own. The airport discussed how the city of Stillwater will help with the project, and the authority mostly agreed it needed the city’s support if it would ever be constructed.
As for the financial situation, Johnson said he believed the building would easily pay for itself. If the airport charged $300 a spot for hangar space, it would make approximately $36,000 a year, which would pay the debt payment.
Also, before approving the hangar, many authority members want a study conducted to see how much people would be willing to pay for the hangar space. Although it would be brand new, which people would like, it would also make people walk approximately 100 yards to get to the hangar from their parking spot.
Johnson said that was a downfall and creating parking next to the new hangar is not as simple as laying down a pad of asphalt or concrete. Even though parking would be a great idea, it would also cost a lot of money, he said.
Johnson said the airport plans to answer many questions before pursuing the project further.
In the end, to find out if the project is worth it, it’s going to come down to price sensitivity and demand, and each of the authority members said the authority would need support from the city.
Johnson said he wanted the four-phase approach to the project approved at Thursday’s meeting, and the authority will discuss the hangar’s future at later meetings.
Even though it’s not a done deal, the new hangar continues to edge closer to becoming a reality. The authority approved the idea of the four phases 6-0.