Green airport signage near the Rifle Garfield County Airport.

New airport master plan process prepares for takeoff

Garfield County selects Armstrong Consultants to prepare guiding document

March 13, 2024

Garfield County has selected Armstrong Consultants, Inc., to prepare a new master plan for the Rifle Garfield County Airport. Armstrong, which specializes in airport engineering and planning services, scored the highest out of three candidates in the request for qualifications search.

The county’s procurement process found Armstrong to be the most responsive and qualified consultant. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) authorized staff to create a professional service agreement (PSA) with Armstrong for all airport master planning-related services at the airport.

Rifle Garfield County Airport Director Brian Condie told the board that the airport is still six to eight weeks away from returning with an approved contract. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must approve the scope of work before the county shifts its focus to funding for the master plan.

“We do this once every 10 years,” Condie explained. “Once we get a professional service agreement, we’ll come back to the procurement department and the attorney’s office for their reviews. Then we’ll perform an initial scope of work, then we develop the scope, and then we get the commissioner’s approval. Next is an independent fee estimate, and then it all goes to the FAA for final approval.”

The PSA will also come before the board for approval as part of the process, he added.

“Currently, the FAA has set aside $600,000 for this process, and our commitment on that is $37,000,” Condie told the board. “That’s our match and the state will also match the $37,000. The airport business plan is not eligible for federal funding, and the county has money set aside to cover that.”

Once the scope of work is completed, Armstrong develops a cost estimate, which is compared to an independent fee estimate, and both are sent to the FAA for review. If the costs are within 10 percent, then the amount is acceptable to the FAA, otherwise cost negotiations must take place, he said.

“The FAA has its checks and balances,” Condie added.

The selection of Armstrong Consultants was approved by the board unanimously, 3-0.