Arlington improves airport offices

ARLINGTON — A planned remodel and expansion of airport offices should help advance Arlington Municipal Airport’s aim to be taken seriously as a hub for business travelers, according to the airport’s manager.

Taxiway improvements and a comprehensive study to plan for the airport’s future, paid for by federal grants, are slated for completion this year.

Next up is a $1.2 million expansion of the airport offices, said airport manager Rob Putnam. Construction is scheduled to be completed in early 2009.

Currently housed in a humble, single-story, 1,400-square-foot building, the airport offices are expected to grow to about 7,600 feet with the planned remodel and expansion.

The majority of the new space will be leased to the state Department of Transportation’s aviation division, Putnam said.

In addition, airport commission meetings won’t be held at the Boys &Girls Club across 59th Street anymore but will have a home in the office’s community room. Upstairs offices will have a balcony that will allow Putnam and his crew a better view of the airfield and be a place to showcase the airport with potential customers, Putnam said.

Perhaps most important are plans for a pilots lounge, something the airport doesn’t currently have.

“It’s a multifunction building, it’s going to look good, and it’s going to attract people to Arlington,” Putnam said. “Corporate pilots will have a place to plan their flights or wait while their clients conduct business.”

The lounge also will serve air travelers forced to stop because of bad weather, and give them a chance to find lodging and other services, he said.

Another step toward cleaning up the look and function of the municipal airport will come with the construction of new signs directing people through the maze of surrounding businesses and services.

The signs are still in the planning stage. Design for new color-coded signs recently won the Arlington City Council’s approval. When built, the signs will provide better exposure for businesses on main roadways and entrances, provide better directions for drivers and improve the image of the airport, Putnam said.

“New signs have been on our list for a long time,” he said. “When we get these, some of our businesses will be able to put away their sandwich boards and banners.”

A Bellevue company is fine-tuning designs for the signs and soon will provide cost estimates before the city goes through the bidding process. Construction on the primary entrance signs could begin in 2009, Putnam said.

Reporter Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427 or gfiege@heraldnet.com.

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