Bids for the new passenger terminal at Missoula International Airport were opened last week, leaving officials optimistic as the $67 million project enters its next phase.
With the foundation set, crews will begin steel work next month, giving the south concourse stature alongside the current, antiquated facility.
“The structural steel team will get set up and begin to erect the actual shell of the building,” said projects manager Tim Damrow. “It’ll start to be more noticeable other than a big hole in the ground.”
While the bids won’t be awarded until next month, Damrow said the airport received 67 unique bidders from a number of states, including Montana, Washington and Idaho.
The structural portion of the project comes with a $49 million budget and covers a number of large projects, including plumbing and mechanical, which represents $6 million and saw the high and low bids separated by $1.2 million.
Vertical construction also includes electric, communications and security, with roughly $1.7 million separating the high and low bids. The bid for steel was awarded earlier this year and came in under budget at $6.5 million.
“We have about $16 million of that out for bid already,” Damrow said. “For this (vertical construction) package, we’re looking at a budget figure of around $49 million and a remaining $2 million or so for furnishing and fixtures, which will be around the tail end of the project.”
Damrow said other costs covered by the budget include $4.5 million for five jet bridges in the south concourse. While that will increase upfront costs, he said, it’ll net savings down the road.
“We were able to add a fifth jet bridge onto this building, which will increase costs on this concourse, but will alleviate concerns for future expansion and phasing as we get down the road,” said Damrow. “We’re looking pretty good. We’ll have a better idea of what this looks like within the next few weeks.”
The $69 million south concourse represents the first of what’s likely to be several phases. Once the new concourse opens, the airport will raze the old terminal and replace it with an east concourse with roughly three gates.
Damrow said the airport will turn its attention to that second phase early next year, once the financial pieces of the south concourse are in place. Opening of the south concourse is slated for January 2022.
“Our guys pretty much work in all kinds of weather, and so do the subcontractors,” said Steve Conway of Martel Construction. “But if it gets to be zero degrees, that gets to be pretty cold, especially if the wind is blowing.”