Five named to review committee for Lafayette Regional Airport work, including $90 million terminal project _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- The welcome sign to the Lafayette Regional Airport at the intersection of Surrey Street and U.S. 90 in Lafayette.

Lafayette Regional Airport commissioners have named a five-person committee to review architectural and engineering firms wanting to provide services to the airport, including designing and building the airport’s proposed $90 million passenger terminal.

Two members of the committee are on the board of commissioners: Paul Segura and Paul Guilbeau Sr. Also appointed were airport Director Steven Picou, airfield manager Anthony Hebert and private-sector engineer Kam Movassaghi.

The Airport Commission said in a release Monday that the board soon will make available requests for qualifications to architectural and engineering firms interested in working for the airport and, in particular, working on the proposed passenger terminal.

Daniel Elsea, an airport engineer, said Monday the airport plans to centralize the RFQ information on a website — including on newlftairport.com — for review by interested firms and the public. Elsea said he doesn’t know when the airport will release the RFQ information.

Commissioners are scheduled to convene at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 11 for the board’s regular meeting.

The terminal project is a major, multiyear endeavor that, when completed, will give Lafayette air travelers five passenger gates through which to board instead of the current three. Other expansions include the parking lot and road access to and from the airport.

Movassaghi is the former head of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. His most recent position was president of Lafayette-based engineering and survey firm C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates, and, at one time, he headed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Department of Civil Engineering.

Airport Commission Chairman Matt Cruse said the board’s policy is to have an independent professional on the review committee and that Movassaghi is a perfect fit.

“Mr. Movassaghi … has a keen interest in the airport and the things the commission is trying to accomplish,” Cruse said.

Lafayette Parish voters in December approved passage of an eight-month 1-cent sales tax. The tax, for one penny of taxable goods in the parish, went into effect April 1 and will be collected through the end of November.

Estimated revenue from the tax, which is dedicated to constructing the terminal, is $35 million. The Louisiana Legislature this past spring allocated $13.5 million in capital outlay money to the project. The remainder of the costs will be paid through federal grants and borrowed money.

Airport officials have said construction on the airport should begin in 2017 at the earliest.