More terminal improvements are on the agenda Thursday for the Santa Maria Public Airport Board of Directors.

With paving of the 1,700-foot main runway extension complete, the board will begin considering other improvement projects, including what to do with the outdoor viewing area adjacent to the boarding terminal, when it meets at 7 p.m. at the Airport Administration Building.

The area is an angular mix of grass and concrete where visitors can watch travelers board and disembark commercial airliners. The board will discuss how to improve the area, said General Manager Chris Hastert.

“We want to do something different with that area,” Hastert said. “We want to put in a little bit better landscaping, some benches and tables.”  Preliminary plans are to improve the area enough to be used for gatherings such as Chamber of Commerce mixers, arts and crafts shows, and similar events.

A memorial to long-time airport director Ted Eckert is also being discussed, Hastert said.

Hardscape work costs could range from $14,700 to $42,000, depending on the materials and how much of the area is paved, according to an estimate.  Improvements to the area were not budgeted for this fiscal year, so work would not begin until after July 1.

The board will also discuss an amendment to a lease for cattle grazing on airport property, and receive a report from Hastert on a recent air service conference.

Granite Construction finished up paving the 150-foot wide extension last week. The fresh pavement now has to cure for 30 days before any more work will take place.  Hastert said grooves will be cut into the new pavement for water runoff, and striping will be added.  Until then, electrical work on runway lighting will continue.

By Brian Bullock/Staff Writer bbullock@santamariatimes.com Santa Maria Times | Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012