Change orders have driven up costs and helped delay completion of the project.
Design changes on a new community hangar at the Lawrence Municipal Airport have added about $163,000 to its cost and pushed the completion date back by several months, officials from the city and the general contractor said this week.
Depending on the weather, officials now believe the new hangar will open by the end of this month at a final cost of about $543,000.
The delays have been frustrating for Lloyd Hetrick, airport operator and president of Hetrick Aviation.
"I've got people who've relocated their airplanes off the field short term," Hetrick said. "But the big thing is maintenance. We've got planes we could be working on, but there's no place to put them."
But Dean Penny of Penny Construction Co. Inc., the general contractor on the project, said most of the delays have been caused by change orders that Hetrick and the city requested.
Beyond that, he said, heavy rains and strong winds the past month also have limited the number of days construction crews could work.
A year ago, when Lawrence city commissioners opened bids on the project, the low bid from Harris Construction Co. was $380,000.
At that Sept. 1, 1998, meeting, commissioners also authorized borrowing up to $500,000 to pay for those construction costs.
Since then, officials have changed the design to allow for a larger building with a higher doorway that would enable the hangar to be used for maintenance and inspections of larger airplanes.
That was meant to enable Hetrick Aviation as well as two other companies at the airport -- Kohlman Systems Research and Alligator, Inc. -- to maintain and inspect more types of aircraft.
When the contract for the new design was finally signed, Penny Construction Co. Inc. was the low bidder and was awarded the contract for $458,820.
But Assistant City Manager Rod Bremby said the contract was signed before engineers had taken a close look at the site where the hangar was being built.
It was soon decided the concrete pad needed to be raised several inches to allow room for drains beneath the floor, adding $23,000 to the cost.
That, in turn, meant the concrete aprons leading in and out of the hangar needed to be changed, adding another $60,000 to the cost.
Other change orders have involved modifying the storm drains around the building and changing parts of the electrical system. These additional costs brought the total to about $543,000.
Last month, city commissioners authorized borrowing an additional $55,000 to pay for the extra work, bringing the total amount of debt to fund the project to $555,000.
Hetrick Aviation will lease the hangar from the city. Those lease payments will be used to retire the bonds.
According to Bremby, the project is not officially behind schedule because the contract did not include a deadline for completion.
Penny said after all the change orders were in that he had hoped to complete the building by Oct. 1, but the weather has limited the number of hours per day that crews can work.
He now hopes the building will be finished by the end of this month.
-- Peter Hancock's phone message number is 832-7144. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.