Groundbreaking Held Wednesday To Replace Double-Wide
By: Larry Stencel
Immediately after a quick ceremonial spade-turning, construction
got underway November 3 on a new 2,000 sq ft FBO building at the
Wautoma, WI airport (Y50). The project, which has been in the FAA
Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding cycle for a number of
years, will result in a new building that local pilots say will be
a welcome improvement over the existing double-wide mobile home
style "temporary" structure which has served for almost 20 years.
The new facility will provide a managers office, flight planning
area, flight training area as well as restroom and shower
facilities for transient pilots.
Present for the ceremony were the City Manager and Council
members, airport commissioners, airport co-managers as well as
representatives from MSA Professional Services, the engineers and
architects of Baraboo, WI and Eagle Construction, the general
construction project managers of Wisconsin Rapids, WI. The project
is expected to be complete in late spring 2011. AIP funds are
covering 90% of the cost while State of Wisconsin and City of
Wautoma will each pay 5%.
Wautoma, located 33 NM due west of Oshkosh, became a welcome
divert airport during AirVenture 2010 when incessant rains forced
closure of large portions of the Wittman Regional airport grounds.
Early EAA traffic was diverted to the Fondulac airport but - when
that facility filled to capacity - pilots began showing up in large
numbers at Wautoma. Already known to a smaller number of repeat
AirVenture pilots who choose not to fly into Wittman Field, the new
arrivals were amazed to find such a "beautiful and friendly"
airport so close to the FISK entry point to OSH. About 100
airplanes made Wautoma home during AirVenture and most pilots said
they'd be back. Many camped under their airplanes. The City is
hoping to better those numbers in 2011 and is planning on being
proactive toward that end in advance of AirVenture 2011. EAA'ers
are definitely welcome in Wautoma, said airport co-manager, Dick
The new FBO is the fifth in a series of planned airport
improvements that the City has in its long term planning cycle.
About six years ago, a new ASOS station was installed. Four years
ago, the existing taxiway system around hangars was improved. Two
years ago, a new 24/7 automated fuel dispensing system was
installed. Most recently, the 3,300' main runway was resurfaced and
painted. Future projects will seek to lengthen all runways as well
as re-do the existing parking ramp. The City of Wautoma treats its
airport as one of the economic engines for the small rural resort
community of 2,200 people in Waushara County and it definitely
shows. In the last decade, numerous private individuals have
erected hangars on the airfield precisely because of the towns
proactive and friendly stance and reasonable cost.
Wautoma is also home to EAA Chapter 1331 which maintains a large
hangar adjacent to the FBO. During AirVenture 2010, the EAA Chapter
quickly reacted to the unexpected rush of transient airplanes by
providing evening food and drink for the pilots and passengers of
airplanes that had diverted. In addition, ground transportation was
quickly organized to make several daily trips between Wautoma and
Oshkosh. Transient pilots who had originally planned on going
directly into Wittman Field were pleasantly surprised at what they
found. The Chapter and City hopes to see them again in 2011.