County approves building purchase at New Century Commerce Center

Lynne Hermansen
Gardner News

Johnson County commissioners approved the purchase of a new shelter to house exposed airport equipment at their Thursday meeting.

The 15,000 square-foot building located at New Century Commerce Center recently went on the market for $650,000. The money to purchase the building will come from the county’s airport enterprise reserve funds.

The Johnson County Airport Commission currently uses a maintenance building at New Century which is a little more than 80 years old. The structure, which was originally built as the public works building for the Olathe Naval Air Station, was not capable of housing the airport’s equipment and deicer at only 2,000 square feet.

In 2018, a study showed it would cost the county approximately $12 million to build a new structure large enough to store and secure the commission’s equipment. Another design option, this time with a $3.5 million price tag, featured a smaller design to house the commission’s most critical equipment. However, officials said, both options were not possible because of a lack of funding.

During Thursday’s meeting, Aaron Otto, assistant county manager, said the move to purchase the building would save the county money.

As part of the airport’s fiscal year 2023-2027 capital improvement plan, the Airport Commission planned on investing $600,000 into preserving the current building and adding under roof space with a lean-to structure. Last year, another study on the storage building indicated the $600,000 earmarked would no longer cover the necessary improvements. Because staff estimates were closer to $800,000, the airport’s fiscal year 2024-2028 improvement plan reflected the new budgeted amount.

By acquiring the new building, officials said, all of the commission’s property currently parked outside could be housed in a secure setting. The airport’s deicer could also be stored there as well instead of its current location, which is scheduled to be removed. With another building available, officials said the $800,000 budgeted for improvements could be removed from future spending and used to purchase the building.

In the end, commissioners voted to amend the fiscal year 2023-2027 capital improvement plan and authorize an agreement with H&L Investments to purchase the building, which is located at 220 New Century Parkway in New Century AirCenter.