Architects working for the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission this week outlined new plans for an air rescue and firefighting building, which will also house snow removal equipment. During the monthly airport commission meeting, chairman Myron Garfinkle said the original plans for the building, which is years behind schedule, were scrapped because they turned out to be too costly.

Instead, the commission hired Keenan & Kenny, a Falmouth architectural firm that designed the new Oak Bluffs fire station. Mr. Garfinkle said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will fund 90 per cent of the project, and the commission is working to obtain state funding to cover an additional five per cent of the cost.

“Unfortunately, the project has taken so long to finish, that the SRE (snow removal equipment) no longer qualifies for primary funding from the FAA,” Mr. Garfinkle said. “We plan to fund it without the participation of the FAA. We anticipate construction will begin this year.”

Planning for the building had languished under former airport manager Sean Flynn, who resigned in December following months of internal turmoil. Commissioners have begun a search for a new manager and are working to put a variety of affairs in order at the Island’s only commercial airport. Former assistant manager Deborah Potter is serving as interim manager.

Architects from Keenan & Kenney in Falmouth, the same firm that designed the new Oak Bluffs fire station. — Steve Myrick

The air rescue and firefighting building is now envisioned as a 21,450-square-foot steel frame building with a shingled exterior, designed to look similar to the airport terminal building. In addition to all the firefighting and snow removal equipment, the building will include offices, training rooms and sleeping quarters.

The architects said they would finalize cost estimates in a few weeks.

Also Tuesday, Mr. Garfinkle listed initiatives underway at the airport, including a request for bids to build a 20 to 30-acre solar array to produce electricity, and a request for bids to paint the main terminal, scheduled for the spring.

He said the commission has established a new personnel evaluation procedure, and submitted all required documents on deficiencies noted in two inspections last year by the FAA.

The airport is upgrading its financial systems and is preparing for its annual independent audit, scheduled to begin Feb. 1.

The commission has cleared up a backlog of requests for buildings and modifications from business park tenants, Mr. Garfinkle said.

The commission has also engaged ADK Consulting, a Florida search firm which specializes in aviation management, to qualify and present candidates for the position of airport manager. Commission vice-chairman Robert Rosenbaum, who heads the search committee, said the firm has already received 10 applicants, and that some have asked about housing on the Island. The commissioners briefly discussed the possibility of providing housing for the new manager.

“It’s going to be an issue,” Mr. Rosenbaum said. “It’s always an issue.”

The commission hopes to hire a new manager by May.

Commissioners voted to transfer from other accounts $153,515 for law enforcement officers on duty during the summer season, and $69,684 to hire a firm to produce an engineering evaluation of the airport wastewater treatment facility, as required by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

In other action, the commission voted to release minutes from some executive sessions dating back to 2001, but tabled a motion to release redacted minutes of airport commission executive sessions from 2014, when the commission was embroiled in a workplace discrimination lawsuit and a lawsuit against the Dukes County Commission.

Mr. Garfinkle said the commission would not release at this time the executive session minutes in which they discussed the negotiated settlement agreement with Mr. Flynn. Under that agreement, Mr. Flynn resigned about two years before the end of his employment contract, and commissioners agreed to pay him $235,650 for severance benefits and earned time.

Following the public session Tuesday, commissioners went into executive session, citing an exception to the open meeting law which allows discussion about the employment of security personnel at the airport.