June 21, 2007
Panama City – Bay County International Airport and Industrial District Receives Five Bids for Site Preparation and Paving at New Airport
The Panama City -- Bay County International Airport and Industrial District (Airport Authority) announced today that it had received five bids for site preparation and paving at the relocated Panama City -- Bay County International Airport. The bids packages are now available to the public for review.
"We are pleased with the number and quality of bids we have received," said Airport Authority chairman Joe Tannehill. "Each of these bidders met our stringent pre-qualification requirements. Now it is our job to carefully review the bid packages to determine which one represents the best value for the people of Bay County. The bids are very complex documents based on a number of variables, so it will not be readily apparent which bid is best until we make detailed comparisons. Once we have completed our analysis, we will present our findings to the public."
The Scope of Work for the site preparation and paving contract includes clearing and grading the airport site, fencing the property, building access and perimeter roads, preparing compacted pads for the terminal and the public safety building and building the airport's two runways and taxi-ways.
The construction companies were asked to supply a base bid for some of the work, including land clearance, fencing and runway construction. They also supplied material costs for 18 variables. Some of the variables include asphalt versus concrete runways and different lighting along the runways.
After thoroughly reviewing the bid packages, the Airport Authority will pick the bidder as well as the materials to be used in construction. In selecting the bidder and the materials, the Airport Authority will work to deliver the best value for the project.
"While we have not yet reviewed the bids in detail, it appears that site preparation and paving costs will be within our projected budget," said Tannehill. "That is good news for the new airport. Our financial plan is coming together very nicely, on both the cost and revenue side. In some of our processes we have deliberately taken extra time, which will allow us to move more expeditiously later in the process. We are very much on track."
"We are going to thoroughly evaluate every aspect of these bids," said Tannehill. "Our goal remains to ensure that we get the best work for the best price. Each member of the airport board takes their responsibility to the community very seriously. We will continue to manage this process in a financially prudent manner."
Bid submissions are available at the Airport Authority website: www.pcairport.com. Copies of the bids also are available at the Airport Authority offices, 3173 Airport Road, Panama City, Florida.
The Airport Authority anticipates breaking ground on the new airport in the second half of 2007. The construction is expected to take up to thirty months.
About the Relocated Panama City -- Bay County International Airport
The Panama City -- Bay County International Airport and Industrial District (Airport Authority) is nearing completion of a ten-year process to relocate the Panama City -- Bay County airport. The relocated airport is expected to be the first new airport built since September 11, 2001.
In late 1980s the Airport Authority began an effort to address significant deficiencies at the existing airport, including non-standard runway safety areas. When local environmentalists and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection objected to extending the existing runway system into Goose Bayou, a particularly environmentally sensitive part of St. Andrews Bay, the Airport Authority began considering relocating the airport.
After working with the FAA to complete a feasibility study in 2000 and a site selection study in 2001, the Airport Authority identified a new site for the airport in northwestern Bay County (West Bay) on land owned by the St. Joe Company (NYSE:JOE).
Following the FAA's selection of the site, the Airport Authority partnered with the State of Florida, Bay County and the St. Joe Company in an innovative planning process authorized by Florida law know as "optional sector planning." The process included dozens of public meetings, data gathering, analysis and visioning for the future. The plan was approved by Bay County and the State of Florida in 2002 and detailed specific area plans were also approved in 2003. Its policies will guide future development and conservation of the West Bay area.
One of the most innovative elements of the plan, in addition to the airport and economic development provisions, is the proposed West Bay Preservation Area. The West Bay Preservation was designed by local and state environmental leaders to preserve the health and habitat of West Bay forever. This watershed scale plan will preserve approximately 41,000 acres and, when fully implemented, include the provision of habitat corridors, open space and stream protection.
Simplified, the objective of the West Bay Preservation Area is to maintain West Bay in its present, pristine state forever. Its vision, especially when compared to the development that has occurred on Florida's other bay front lands, holds the potential to be one of the most significant conservation measures in Florida history. The plan was won statewide praise including the "2007 Promising Practices Award" from the Council for Sustainable Florida this month.
In 2004 the FAA began preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement considering two-dozen alternatives for addressing the deficiencies at the existing airport. In May 2006 the FAA issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement, identifying relocation to the West Bay Site as its Preferred Alternative. In September 2006, the FAA issued its Record of Decision recommending and approving relocation of the Panama City airport to the proposed site in West Bay.
Since January 2007 momentum for relocation has continued to build. The Airport Authority has secured the necessary federal and state funding for the project. The sale of the existing airport site will complete the funding framework for relocation.
The Airport Authority expects to break ground on the project in the second half of 2007 after securing the final permit necessary and a development order from Bay County.