Airport Board Discussing Options for Old Aberdeen Terminal

Aberdeen came a step closer to deciding the fate of the old airport terminal, as recent test results showed asbestos material in the building.

Dave Osborn, city transportation director, and Sam Muntean of Helms and Associates, the engineering firm that handles the airport's improvement projects, addressed the airport board with the findings of the tests and options for the old terminal.

Pipe insulation and tiles tested positive for the flame-retardant carcinogen that was a popular building material in the mid-1900s.

Asbestos tends to be most harmful when its dust becomes airborne, and is inhaled.

Muntean said the pipe insulation was of most concern because it can easily be crumbled, while the tiles do not create much dust when broken.

Because the tests which cost the city $45 showed asbestos in the building, the airport can use its federal airport improvement or AIP money to demolish the structure.

Without asbestos, the city would have to pay for the demolition itself.

Osborn has said that the airport gets about $1 million for qualifying improvement projects, including runway construction and facility improvements.

Last year, the board began looking in earnest for new uses for the old terminal, but no uses were found, and the list of possibilities was small to begin with.

Because federal dollars were used to construct the terminal, the Federal Aviation Administration required that any new use be aviation related.

Muntean said the next step is a thorough study of the building to determine where the asbestos is, and then the board must bid contracts to have the material removed.

Then the demolition can begin.

The possibility of demolishing part of the building has been discussed, but no decision has been made.

Currently the old terminal is home to an office for the Transportation Security Administration and a handful of radio antennae. If the building is torn down, a new home for the office and antennas would have to be found.

One possibility the board has brought up is to leave part of the structure and build an adjacent shed for the airport's snow removal equipment.

If part of the structure were left, the TSA office and antennae would be moved to that portion of the building.

Otherwise, if the whole terminal is taken down, the new shed could go just to the north of where the old terminal currently stands.

The board looked at early concept plans for the snow equipment shed and constructing - with city money - a building to house the TSA office and antennae.

Muntean said the AIP money could be used for the shed, but because the companies that own the antennae pay rent, that building would not qualify as it is a revenue-producing asset.

No dates have been set for a further asbestos study, or for the possible demolition of the old terminal.