BR airport to house BRCC programs

The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport Commission voted Tuesday to seek $4 million in bonds to fund construction of a building to house some Baton Rouge Community College programs.

The bonds would be financed by rent charged to BRCC for the building, said Airport Director Anthony Marino.

BRCC already offers a program that trains students to work with the electronics in airplanes, and the college is preparing to offer an federally certified program in airframe and engine repair, officials have said.

The latter is currently under review by the Federal Aviation Administration, BRCC’s avionics program director Mark Peeples said last week.

BRCC leases a hangar at the airport. The new facility would include about 40,000 square feet and be located on the north end of the airport off of Blount Road, Marino said.

The building would have classrooms and hangar space, he said.

With a 30-year bond, the cost to the airport would be about $235,000 per year, Marino said. That would be how much BRCC would pay to rent the facility, he said. Michael Taffaro, the airport’s legal counsel, said he had been told that BRCC would be amenable to signing a 30-year lease on the property.

Officials from BRCC and the airport have been discussing the possibility of a new facility for “weeks and months,” Marino said after the meeting. “There’s still a lot of groundwork to be done.”

The project is contingent upon BRCC officials sending the airport a written confirmation of agreement to the terms of the deal, Marino said. The confirmation, called a memorandum of understanding, should be forthcoming, he said.

“We will not move on with the Baton Rouge Community College portion of the design contract until the MOU actually materializes,” Marino told the commission.

Marino said he hoped the project could be bid in the late summer or early fall of this year, and ready to open in mid-2014.

The project will go to the full Metro Council, which has to sign off on issuing the bonds.