By Debby Woodin
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Renovation work has started on the inside of the old terminal building at the Joplin Regional Airport.
Most of the demolition work on the interior has been done in order to repair and update the interior, according to airport Manager Steve Stockam.
The City Council last year approved a $175,000 project to renovate the building so that it could be leased for use.
Because of the work, the Joplin squadron of the Civil Air Patrol was asked last fall to move out of the terminal, where it had held its meetings and training sessions for decades.
Representatives of the patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, expressed concerns to the City Council that it could no longer operate from the terminal. Members of the patrol at a Dec. 4 meeting of the council thanked the city for providing the space for the squadron to meet and train, and asked for help in finding alternative space.
The unit has arranged for a temporary meeting space that representatives said is not adequate long-term.
The unit has been serving in Joplin since 1942. At one time, it paid for its own land and hangar on the airport grounds, but in the late 1950s, the city bought the land and guaranteed the squadron a free meeting space at the airport.
In response to the squadron’s concerns expressed to the council, City Manager Mark Rohr directed city staff to work with the patrol to accommodate its need for space.
“We’re working with them as far as trying to get them back into the terminal,” Stockam said Friday. He said he had met with representatives of the unit on Thursday to discuss the status. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do on the terminal building. Once we get that done, we can sit down and address what they need,” he said.
Exterior repairs to the terminal have been finished, which included resealing the roof and installing new heat and air-conditioning units.
Inside, the walls are being patched and painted, the windows resealed, and a new ceiling, lighting and floor coverings are to be installed.
“We’re trying to get to a point where we can put out a request for proposals for people to occupy the building,” Stockam said. Once it’s been determined who will lease the space, there will be some work to be done to configure the space as occupants need.
“There are certain parts of the building that are going to be more conducive to aviation,” such as the side of the building where the loading ramp is located.
Stockam said there was no intent to permanently displace the Civil Air Patrol. There will be room for the unit to come back, he said.
“It was always our intent to have them out there,” Stockam said. “We just had to ask them to move out because we had to rehab the building. We’re very fortunate to have a Civil Air Patrol unit at the airport.”
The former terminal building has two floors and a basement. It is the main floor that is being remodeled. The interior work is expected to be finished March 1.