Casper International builds new equipment storage and maintenance facility

March 7, 2018

Casper natrona airportCommercial airports that were originally built as military airfields are often a mixed bag to operate. Costly infrastructure elements such as runways and buildings are already in place, but they weren’t designed to accommodate modern civilian traffic.

Casper/Natrona County International Airport, in central Wyoming, is a prime example. Ever since the U.S. Army turned over its airfield along the North Platte River to Natrona County in 1949, CPR has used several World War II-era buildings to serve an evolving mix of commercial airlines, private aircraft operators and cargo carriers.

For decades, the airport housed its snow removal equipment and maintenance department in a military motor pool building; but a new $5.5 million facility, completed in fall 2017, is proving to be considerably more efficient. Because the former maintenance building was not contiguous to the airfield, snowplows and other equipment had to cross public roads to clear the airport’s two runways and associated taxiways—a cumbersome situation that presented undesirable logistic and safety issues, explains Airport Director Glenn Januska.

CPR’s new 27,000-square-foot facility is located directly on the airfield, and is much larger than the old military building. It also includes a wash bay for large equipment; 4,000 square feet of mezzanine storage space; a 10-ton overhead crane; a dedicated welding area; a maintenance shop and parts room; separate electrical, plumbing and carpentry shops; a backup power generator; and a security/badged entry system.

As-is, the new facility cannot accommodate CPR’s entire fleet of maintenance equipment, which includes snow plows, brooms, deicers and tractors. But the building was specifically designed for expansion, and two more 25,000-square-foot phases are already on the drawing board. When complete, the facility will total about 75,000 square feet. Until then, the airport staff compensates by storing off-season equipment in the former maintenance building.

Smooth Process

The three-phase project began in 2011 with a concept and budget study performed by Mead & Hunt. The outside engineering firm validated what Januska and his maintenance team had known for years: In addition to its remote location and inadequate size, the previous maintenance building was plagued by operational inefficiencies common to old structures, such as inadequate heating/cooling systems and poor insulation. Airport staff members worked closely with Jviation, CPR’s current engineering consultant, to make sure that these and other issues were corrected in the design of the new maintenance building—a strategy that undoubtedly helped make the project successful, says Januska.

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