Tour of Little Rock Airport projects designed to elicit competitive bids

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Bill and Hillary Clinton/Adams Field National Airport officials plan to take potential prime contractors and subcontractors on tours of projects worth more than $20 million in a bid to attract more of bidders and perhaps generate more competitive bids.

Clinton National will host its first design and construction preview event on March 15 to highlight upcoming construction opportunities, which airport officials hope helps familiarize prime contractors and sub- contractors in the region with the wide variety of projects available as well as the unique airport environment under which they must operate.

Banks, insurance and certification experts from disadvantaged companies will also be available.

The event, which is free but requires registration on the airport‘s website at clintonairport.com, will last from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., capped off with a tour of the projects airfield by coach.

The airport has periodically held outreach events aimed at recruiting other minority-owned small businesses to work on construction and maintenance projects. These events primarily focus on how to become certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise under federal guidelines.

According to Abdoul Kabaou, director of airport procurement, 12% of all federal funds spent on capital projects at Clinton National must go to certified disadvantaged businesses. The percentages increase to 19% when it comes to projects spent with the money that the airport generates locally.

After the arrival of Suzanne Peyton, Director of Planning and Development of Airport New Properties late last year, the scope of the event has expanded to include prime contractors and other changes, movements that will allow attendees to network, give them advance notice of the scope of work available, and how to be notified of upcoming work.

“We are killing two birds with one stone,” said Kabaou.

Airport officials recognize that Clinton National isn’t the only game in town. Other government agencies looking for great contractors for concrete work include the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Peyton said she hopes the notice will help give contractors time to consider competing for jobs at Clinton National.

The goal is to get “multiple bids on projects and good bid values,” she said in an interview.

The largest project is the second phase of upgrading Taxiway Charlie, which runs parallel to Runway 4L-22R, one of the airport’s two commercial service runways. It is expected to cost around $20 million.

Work is also expected to be sought on a plan to install awnings in front of the main terminal to allow people to drop off passengers and luggage sheltered from the weather. It should cost between 1 and 3 million dollars.

Other work expected to be available in 2022 includes interior, mechanical and roof renovations worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, reflecting the wide range of opportunities available at the airport, Peyton said.

Procurement and safety presentations will also be given during the design and build preview, which Peyton said he hopes to take place every year.

Other community participants include the Arkansas Department of Transportation, City of Little Rock, First Security Bank, US Small Business Administration, Forge Community Loan Fund, Arkansas Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Contractors Association Inc. , the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Encore Bank, and the University of Arkansas Extension Service’s Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

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