Renovations to a hangar to be used by the Omaha Police Department's Air Support Unit and its fleet of helicopters at the Blair Municipal Airport is nearing completion.
Construction, which includes building of office space for pilots and maintenance and a mezzanine, began in January.
Blair City Administrator Rod Storm, airport manager, told the Blair Airport Authority Board on Tuesday the work is expected to be completed by middle of June. OPD could move in during the last two weeks of the month to meet the July 1 deadline to vacate the North Omaha Airport.
“The only thing that won't be completed by the middle of June will be the delivery of the generator and the subcontractor that has the bid for the generator has agreed to furnish a loaner essentially and have it tied in so they'll be able to occupy the building with the sprinkler system working when they move in,” Storm said.
Storm and Chairman Geary Combs said the hangar will be an upgrade from the facilities OPD was using at the North Omaha Airport.
“It's a Taj Mahal compared to where they're at,” Combs said.
The board also discussed the need for a helipad for OPD. Storm and Combs said they met with officers from the Air Support Unit, who indicated as part of their protocol they would need an area designated for a helipad.
“They didn't know this six months or a year ago? Why is this a surprise now?” board member Dan Hunt asked.
Storm said changes in the unit's procedures and protocol prompted the request. A small helipad could be constructed for an estimated $25,000. Storm said he is looking into potential state funding for the project.
In the short term, Storm said, a helipad could be constructed on the south edge of the taxi lane.