The new T-hangar building at Alexandria Municipal Airport is open and already filled to capacity.
Even though the occupancy permit was only received last month, all 10 spaces in the hangar are now occupied. This brings the airport's total number of hangars to 54.
"Prior to the hangars being built, many of the aircraft on the T-hangar waiting list were stored in the mass hangar buildings that Alexandria Aviation has for transient aircraft," airport manager Kreg Anderson said in an email. "With the based aircraft now having their own hangars, it creates more space and availability for transient aircraft of all sizes that need temporary hangar space."
Anderson said he wasn't surprised at the increased demand for the space.
"Since the last T-hangar project in 2005 our community has grown significantly, as well as our airport," he said.
Additionally, Alexandria has a limited ability in how often it can construct T-hangars.
"The city receives a 0%, 20-year loan from (Minnesota Department of Transportation) Aeronautics to construct the hangar," Anderson said. "Until the current loan is paid off, the city won't be in a position to construct another T-hangar project. There are other sources of funding, but the MnDOT Aeronautics loan suits our T-hangar projects the best."
Bids for the T-hangar project came in August of last year, and construction started shortly thereafter.
Anderson said the new T-hangar building differs from the others in that its roof is slanted down the sides of the building, rather than in front of the doors, to make it easier to maintain during the winter.
It also has a heated bathroom, he said.
The T-hangar building isn't the only new structure at the airport, either. Three buildings with five hangars have been built by private investors in the past two years.
Land has been plotted out specifically as openings for these types of structures. There's also room for another six private hangars, as well as one or two T-hangars.
Years ago it was common for owners to avoid hangars altogether and leave their aircraft outside, Anderson said.
"Users of our airport who were here in the 1970s and 1980s will comment to me how our aircraft parking ramp was always full back then," he said. "There were even aircraft that were tied down in the grass for long-term storage."
At the time the airport had only 18 hangars, Anderson said.
"In the recent decades there has been a shift to owners wanting their airplanes in a hangar," he said. "The combination of increased insurance rates/requirements, increased cost of aircraft and their parts, plus the age of some airplanes have all driven the movement."