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July 30, 2019

Weather, other factors delay airport terminal project

Photo/Don Del Rosso
Culpepper-based Taft Construction has completed about 85 percent of its work to build the 10,000-square-foot terminal, according to Airport Director Dave Darrah, standing in the two-story passenger lounge.
It gives the appearance of: ‘Wow! This county’s going someplace.’ Remember, this is the front door to the county in terms of what aviation is about.
— Airport Director Dave Darrah
Warrenton-Fauquier Airport
• Owner: Fauquier County.

• Where: 5075 Airport Road, Midland.

• Director: Dave Darrah.

• Employees: 5

• Size: About 406 acres.

• Fiscal 2020 budget: $732,851.

• Phone: 540-422-8285.

• Website: Click here

• Facebook: Click here
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Staff Journalist
With most of the work done, the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport director hopes the new terminal building will be completed by mid-September.

Fauquier officials had planned to open the two-story, 10,000-square-foot structure along Route 610 near Midland in late July and conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony next month.

But, steady rainfall earlier this year, the late delivery of two large water tanks and other factors scuttled that schedule, Airport Director Dave Darrah said Monday.

“We’ve had some delays in construction due to weather and (the shipment of) materials,” Mr. Darrah said. “So, everything’s been shoved farther back.”

The schedule called for March delivery of a 40,000-gallon water tank to support the terminal building’s fire suppression sprinkler system and a 20,000-gallon rainwater harvest tank.

But, the manufacturer “could not get it prepared in time,” said Mr. Darrah, who has headed the 406-acre airport since 2012. “And it pushed it to May. That changed a lot of stuff, because you had to get all that infrastructure in before you could continue some other things.”

The demand for project-related materials made it difficult to obtain them, also causing “some delays,” he said.

“So that shoved things from July into August,” Mr. Darrah said of the combined challenges’ effects. “And, now into the middle of September.”

Otherwise, the airport director sounds please with the project’s progress.

“It looks like the site development side is pretty good,” said the 68-year-old retired Marine colonel and Stafford County resident. “The building side is going very well. I think everybody’s going to be pretty happy.”

The “green” structure will include a:

• Rooftop rain “harvesting” system to meet the terminal’s water needs. Under the planned system, rooftop rainwater would be collected in an underground 20,000-gallon tank, treated and then pumped back to the terminal.

Fauquier eventually plans to extend central water and sewer to the airport and surrounding industrial land.

Fauquier won’t connect the water collection system until it gets state approval to do so.

Until then, it will rely on well water to serve the terminal building.

• Geothermal cooling/heating system.

• Network of solar panels to power it. 

“This is a very, very tight building,” Mr. Darrah said of the energy-efficient structure, which also features high-grade insulation and thermal-rated windows.

Culpeper-based Taft Construction has completed about 85 percent of the $4.8-million project, he said.

Remaining work includes the installation of the elevator, lobby lighting, an observation deck, furniture, appliances and landscaping and completion of site work, Mr. Darrah said. 

Under a cost-share program, the Virginia Department of Aviation pays 58 percent of the construction cost of new terminals' public-use areas and the local governments cover the balance.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony could take place in late November to early December, Mr. Darrah said.

The airport director believes the new terminal building makes a strong statement about Fauquier.

“It gives the appearance of: ‘Wow! This county’s going someplace’,” he said. “Remember, this is the front door to the county in terms of what aviation is about.

“That runway right there — that’s the main highway for Fauquier from a business perspective, because business wants to know they can do business here when they come to our county.”

Contact Don Del Rosso at or 540-270-0300.
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