Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories is expanding its facilities at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport.
Beginning in July, SEL plans to construct a 12,000-square-foot hangar and add a two-story 2,200-square-foot terminal to an already existing hangar of the same size.
Jana Schultheis, SEL property manager, said the project is in the permitting phase with the city and should be finalized by mid-June. Construction should begin in July and is expected to be completed by November, but weather and the Federal Aviation Administration guidelines may alter that date, she said.
SEL has five aircraft. Four are stationed in Pullman and another is based on the East Coast.
Schultheis said the new hangar will be constructed on the east side of another 12,000-square-foot hangar and would provide a space for the last SEL jet to be stored inside.
The new terminal would include an espresso bar, a pilot's lounge, a conference room, an extra meeting room and restrooms.
The terminal will be used for SEL business only. To accommodate those who use the facility, two parking lots with a total of 54 parking spaces for SEL employees will be paved outside the terminal. Schultheis said up to 30 SEL employees could have to make a business trip at the same time and having a separate service for SEL should increase efficiency for the company.
She said in the last 15 years about 2,200 SEL employees take national and international business trips.
SEL's air fleet also helps with the Cessna Citation Airlift, which transports children in the Special Olympics, and Angel Flight, an air transport service for health care and other compelling human needs.
Although the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport is working to realign the runway and move any wetlands that will be destroyed by the project south of Colfax, SEL will face a separate wetland mitigation project for their construction at the airport.
Because a wetland will be disturbed by the project, Schultheis said, SEL is responsible for moving 400 native trees and other plants along Missouri Flat Creek that runs along North Grand Avenue.
The updates at the airport should allow for quicker and more efficient commutes for SEL business travel, but it's mostly to take care of and protect our aircraft, Schultheis said.
"It enables us to grow and remain where we want to be," she said.
Reprinted with permission of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Copyright 2015.