After a decade of planning and more than a year of construction, the new Martha’s Vineyard Airport terminal is substantially complete and ready for occupancy. The grand opening will take place this morning with a ceremony of airport officials, site personnel and public dignitaries.
According to owner’s representative Bill Reich, airlines and rental car companies are expected to move out of the old building on Monday and begin operations in the new complex. Final site work is likely to be done within a month, and the project will be completely finished by the end of the summer.
Mr. Reich credits the success of the enterprise to cooperation and patience by the construction team, particularly project superintendent Mike Leone of JK Scanlan Company and architect Jonathan McCredie of TAMS Consultants.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the way things have turned out,” Mr. Reich said. “I think the world of everyone who has been out here, every guy who has pulled a wire, driven a nail or put a shovel in the ground. They have all been so cooperative, professional and meticulous. It’s been a pleasure to work with all of them.
“Now, the building is about 95 per cent finished, and the whole project is around 85 per cent done. We have a lot of details to address to get to the point where the architect and his consultants will deem it ready for final completion.”
At 15,000 square feet, the new terminal replaces a structure originally used as a Navy base in World War II. Next to the new building is a general aviation wing of 2,500 square feet.
“We’ll be demolishing the old terminal at the end of July, and we’ll extend the apron through that site,” said Mr. Reich.
Only $120,000 in change orders were submitted during the course of construction, according to Mr. Reich, only 1.5 per cent of the $8.1 million cost of construction. The typical contingency for a project of this sort is five per cent.
“Most of the change orders have actually been improvements for airport operations,” he said. 
“By not having to spend a lot on our contingency budget, we were able to use some of those funds to make improvements to the design along the way. That’s the result of having competent subcontractors and tight plans and specifications.
“Most of the change orders were to accommodate future technologies, things we didn’t have to do but will save money in the long run. It was a smart move by the airport commission to approve those improvements at this point in time, and they deserve credit for listening to their consultants and heeding their advice.”
Mr. McCredie shares Mr. Reich’s enthusiasm for the endeavor, and hopes the community will be pleased with its investment in a modern air transportation facility.
“Overall, everyone is extremely pleased,” Mr. McCredie said. “I think it went so well because so many people wanted it to succeed, from the local to state and federal levels. This is an example of the way a project should go.”
The ceremony today will be conducted by the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission, the agency responsible for funding much of the project. Among the state officials expected to be present are Rep. Eric Turkington, Rep. Joseph Sullivan and Sen. Henri Rauschenbach, along with four of the five members of the aeronautics commission. Tours of the site will be offered as part of the celebration.
“This was a long time in the development, design and permitting phase, and now that we’ve seen actual construction, landscaping, finish work and painting, it’s really coming into its own,” said Bob Mallard, deputy director of the aeronautics commission. “From the new airside improvements to the roadways and parking lots, everything looks good.
“I think it’s great. They did a great job of getting it going. Everyone, especially Islanders, should be proud of this facility.”