Airport leaders want changes in use of facility
Plans for new office building not appropriate, director says
The new leaders of the Grand Junction Regional Airport want to make some changes to the planned uses of an administrative office building now under construction at the facility.
That’s partly because some of the things included in the plans for that $5.5 million structure — which is the first of three phases that would eventually lead to a new terminal complex — are not really their intended uses, Interim Director of Aviation Amy Jordan told the Airport Authority board on Thursday.
Some of the stated uses of that three-story structure “were not appropriate” and need to be changed and reported to the FAA, Jordan said, adding that it likely would lead to a 25 percent reduction in the $3.6 million grant the airport received from the federal government.
Those changes were ordered by former Director of Aviation Rex Tippetts, who has since been fired on the heels of an FBI and U.S. Department of Transportation investigation into possible financial mismanagement.
Some of the changes that Tippetts ordered, which Jordan wants to repair, include:
■ Changing a break room to be a “data room.”
■ Turning space not yet determined for use, or that might be leased to private tenants, into a “workshop.”
■ Creating an office for a “duty officer” when there is no such position.
■ And creating a “future baggage screening” area where that type of activity likely would never happen.
The board didn’t take a final position on the changes Thursday, but plans to discuss them at an upcoming workshop in the next few weeks.
“We would like to make these changes and go back to the FAA and discuss it with them,” Jordan said. “The grant money is in place, but we just don’t want to draw on it until we know” the project is being done as intended.
In a federal civil suit against Tippetts and the airport board filed in U.S. District Court last month, former airport security coordinator Donna VanLandingham alleged Tippetts intentionally repurposed a planned wildlife fence, which qualified for FAA funding, into a security fence that does not.