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Board OKs improvements for John Wayne Airport

January 25, 2001

Paul Clinton

SANTA ANA -- The Orange County Board of Supervisors passed a package

of improvements this week to dress up John Wayne Airport.

At its Tuesday meeting, the board approved seismic retrofitting work

for two parking structures, repaving of a taxiway and the hiring of a

public relations firm.

The board also laid the groundwork to rebuild the airport's Aircraft

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Rescue and Firefighting facility by hiring an engineering firm to

relocate 28 tie-downs for private aircraft.

The seismic improvements, to two of the airport's four garages, is

expected to cause rotating closures of about 800 spaces at a time. Work

on the $3.8-million project is expected to begin in the spring.

The structures in question -- the 1,572-space A-1 garage and

1,400-space B-1 garage -- were built before changes in building codes

were put into effect in 1994.

"The standards have increased a lot, especially after the Northridge

quake," John Wayne spokeswoman Ann McCarley said. "We're just going to

bring them up to code."

The two other structures, along with an off-site lot, will be open

during the work. The airport has announced plans to institute valet

parking to alleviate any congestion.

The board also authorized a $55,000 payment to Irvine-based HNTB Corp.

for engineering work to repave Taxiway Lima. Work has already begun on

the $495,963 project, approved by the board in 1998.

For beautification of a different sort, the board hired Irvine-based

NCG Porter Novelli for public relations services to spruce up the

airport's annual reports. The three-year deal cannot exceed $200,00.

To clear the way for the new fire station, the board also agreed to

hire Kimley-Horn and Associates, based in Orange, to relocate the

tie-downs. The board will pay the firm $1 million for the job.

Once it is completed, the airport is expected to move ahead with the

$3.8-million fire station project. Built in 1976, Station 33 does not

allow adequate handicap access, meet current building codes or include

women's showers and restrooms.

In a non-airport related move, the board also accepted $166,900 in

state grant money for water-quality studies in the Back Bay.

The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Agency, an independentwater

monitor, will jointly oversee the studies with the county.

The studies will focus on the possible presence of pesticides

contained in urban runoff. County officials said they are concerned the

chemicals are killing off water fleas and other insects in the watershed.

"It's really focusing on the issue of toxicity," said Chris Crompton,

the county environmental resources manager. "It's aim is to collect some

information that hasn't been collected before and to help us understand

it."

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