The East Kern Airport District Board of Directors has authorized Mojave Air and Space Port officials to spend up to $600,000 on improvements to Building 137, otherwise known as the pool building.
The funds will pay for interior wood refurbishing, a fire suppression system, heating and air conditioning, two restrooms, insulation, electrical work, and permits. This work is estimated to cost $460,000, with a management reserve of $140,000, according to information provided to board members last week.
The spaceport is renovating the structure to be used for large events and gatherings. Currently, the desert facility lacks any large, enclosed buildings in which to hold such activities. Plans call for the facility to be used by the airport and its tenants.
Board members were at first reluctant to approve such a large expenditure with only cost estimates in front of them. However, spaceport officials said that the approval would allow them to obtain bids and to keep the renovations on schedule. The board would be required to approve any contracts above a certain amount, meaning board members did not give officials blanket approval to spend the funds.
Officials are looking to finish renovations by the end of the year. Spaceport Chief Operating Officer Kevin Wojtkiewicz said a large event is being planned in the facility in February.
Building 137 gets its nickname from a pool it once contained that the Marines used to conduct water survival training for pilots. The pool has been filled in and paved over, and the building is currently being rented out for dry storage.