Headed for the runway

Pilots push a kit-built plane out of the hangar Saturday at Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport in Temple.

One in a series.

A new, privately-funded hangar at Temple’s Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport is now taking flight as regional growth fuels demand for more regional air facilities.

A lease agreement for land that will house the 14,500 square-foot hangar was unanimously approved by the Temple City Council earlier this month. City staff said the hangar, to be built on an old portion of a closed runway, is expected to house about 12 aircraft depending on their size.

The initial length of the lease is 10 years with two five-year renewal options. Michael Reed, the person behind the project, will pay an annual rent of $5,075.

Sean Parker, the city’s airport director, said the agreement is a good thing for the city, the hangar’s builder and aircraft owners especially as the airport sees increased activity.

“Every airport has a waiting list and ours keeps growing will all the people wanting to relocate from the Austin area to our area,” Parker said. “We are just looking for ways to promote our folks building hangars, and it is kind of a win-win situation for the airport.”

The new hangar is expected to start construction within the next couple months after the contract starts in July. The company constructing the hangar will take about four to six weeks to build it and six days to assemble the facility.

Parker said the airport, similar to other Central Texas airports, currently has a larger demand for space than its supply.

The Temple airport has a waitlist of about 85 aircraft owners who are looking to come to the city. Parker said it was these people that the city would be reaching out to once the hangar is available to let them rent the space.

Parker said he estimates rent for spaces at the hangar are going to be slightly higher than the city rate, which were recently adjusted. The city charges monthly rents of $200 for a small hangar, $250 for a medium hangar and $300 for a large hangar.

The new hangar will be a portable structure made of fabric that meets the Department of Defense’s standards and can resist 100 mile per hour winds and small- to medium-sized hail.

Parker said this style of hangar is built to the DoD standards since it is in use at military bases around the world. He also noted that the manufacturer estimates the material to have a 20-year lifespan.

The contract between the hangar and the city does allow Temple to cancel the contract early if they have a more permanent tenant who wants the spot but Parker said it wouldn’t be hard to take it down and move it to a new location.

“If something happens and we have to take it down temporarily, to do some structural resurfacing, it is just a couple of days work to get it taken down and put back up,” Parker said. “And, if another commercial entity comes in and needs space that is close to that area, we have the ability to reposition that hangar. So it’s portable and it’s going to be interesting to see and fun to work with.”

Some Council members expressed initial concern over the structure but later changed their minds after looking at examples of similar hangars at other airports.

Mayor Tim Davis said he, too, was initially concerned about the look of the proposed hangar since it was described as a temporary structure.

“My initial thought … is that it is not really the way we have been moving,” Davis said. “Talking about temporary structures, with the amount of money that is being put forth to revitalize the area out there. But it looks pretty sturdy, it is not a tent.”

Councilman Wendell Williams said he really liked the idea for the new hangar and offered that the city might want to look at building similar ones in the future.

Parker said future hangars at the airport might follow the lead of this one by using the same materials instead of the traditional T-hangars built of metal. He said this is due to the rising costs of building materials.

The new hangar will both allow the city to observe how this style of hangar holds up to Texas weather and be a part of a local effort to encourage more public-private partnerships for building hangars.

“Until things settle down, the city just doesn’t have that kind of money to spend on a structure, especially when the return on that investment is a lot longer than what is really kind of looked for or approved,” Parker said. “So we are going to start focusing on private individuals coming in wanting to build at our airport and that will improve the bottom line of the airport and also give us a lot more customers that way.”

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