By Tia Lyons
Without a quorum Tuesday, the El Dorado Works Board could not take any action on a funding request to pay for a new roof for the terminal building at South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field.
Mickey Murfee, chairman of the El Dorado Airport Commission, made the pitch for a portion of the city’s economic development sales tax, which is administered by the El Dorado Works Board, with final approval from the El Dorado City Council.
Blake Dunn, of CADM Architecture, Inc., and Mayor Frank Hash assisted Murfee in making the case to replace the deteriorating roof of the airport terminal.
Dunn told EWB members Alison Abson and Greg Downum that the roof replacement had been incorporated into a master renovation plan for the terminal building.
CADM drafted the plan in 2015 and revised it earlier this year, with the preliminary budget estimated at $2.1 million — the same as it was two years ago when the plan was drafted.
Airport commissioners subsequently concluded they would have to seek out funding to cover the restoration project.
However, the deterioration of the roof has continued and is accelerating, Dunn said Tuesday.
He distributed photographs of damage to the plaster in the ceiling that has been caused by leaks inside the airport terminal.
“These were taken two years ago, and it looks worse now. The plaster in the ceiling is continuing to deteriorate on the first floor, the second floor and in the stairwell,” Dunn said.
“You have odor and moisture in the building, and the longer you wait, the worse it will get,” he
Airport commissioners and Hash agreed earlier this year that the roof needs to be addressed immediately, with Dunn adding that the problem will worsen in the winter.
Since then, it’s been a race for the commission to raise funding and get the project started before winter sets in. On Tuesday, Dunn said the preliminary budget estimate for the roof replacement was $170,000, and the low bid came in at $114,200.
The bid was awarded to El Dorado Roofing Company, LLC.
Dunn and Murfee said the company has secured the materials for the project and is waiting for the OK to begin work.
Dunn noted that bid specifications include a $25,000 contingency for any unexpected issues that crews may encounter.
During an airport commission meeting on Monday, commissioners said they would await a decision on a grant application that was submitted to the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics to cover a portion of the project.
Blake Roberson, of Garver, the airport commission’s engineering firm of record, said ADA commissioners are expected to meet next week, noting that the decision about the grant could come prior to the meeting.
Murfee said Tuesday that if approved, the grant would cover 50 percent of the cost of the roof replacement.
Hash also explained that if the work begins before the grant is approved, the city would no longer be eligible for the grant.
“This body is the only source of money, outside of reserves from the city. The worst case is we’ll have to come up with the entire enchilada. The best case is it’ll be 50/50,” Hash said.
“We’re in a time-crunch with the contract letting, weather and a city council meeting,” the mayor said.
If the EWB approves the funding request, the city council will have the final vote on the matter. Aldermen will next convene for a regular meeting on Oct. 19.
Hash inquired about the bid guarantee from El Dorado Roofing, and Dunn said the bid expired Monday.
“Technically, they don’t have to honor the bid, but I don’t think it will be a problem. They understand that sometimes you need more time, and I haven’t heard anything otherwise from them,” Dunn said.
“November is not an ideal time to do a roof replacement, but it can work,” he added. “I think it’ll be OK if we start within the next two or three weeks, but much beyond that, it becomes risky.”
Downum inquired about the type of roof that will go atop the terminal and its life expectancy.
Dunn said the new roof will be a low-slope with TPO (Thermoplastic Polyoelefin) membrane, the same material that was used on a renovation project at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium and the El Dorado School District administrative office.
“We’re talking about a Class A roof here,” said Bob Watson, airport commissioner and former superintendent of El Dorado public schools.
Dunn also said the new roof will come with a 25-year warranty.
Alison asked how the city is addressing the moisture infiltration in the terminal building.
Murfee and Dunn said the air conditioning system is used as a dehumidifier.
Abson said the EWB could call a special meeting to consider the funding request, and Hash said the matter could be presented to the city council as early as next week.
The board held off on an update about the renovation of the municipal auditorium.
During the EWB’s regular meeting, Hash said there was an ongoing issue with the air conditioning system, and the city was withholding a $25,000 payment from construction manager East Harding Construction until the issue is fixed.
CADM drafted the plan for the $5.6 million renovation, which was largely completed in the summer of 2016 when the auditorium was reopened for a show by Richard Marx.
EWB members agreed to wait until the full board was present to discuss the auditorium.
Abson reminded the group that EWB chairman Robert Reynolds’s term expires in January.
She said Reynolds, who was unable to attend the meeting Tuesday, has said he does not plan to seek another term.
Hash said the board could choose to nominate Reynolds or seek out another candidate for nomination.
Abson said she would double-check with Reynolds to see if he still plans to roll off the board.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.