The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board on Thursday approved a $2,578,000 grant for the construction of a spec hangar at the Casper-Natrona County International Airport.

The grant, coupled with $622,000 in cash and in-kind contributions for a total of $3.2 million will pay for the 10,000-square-foot hangar itself, a 2,000-square-foot office area, site preparation, roadway access, a parking lot and utility extension.

Final design work will begin soon, and construction probably will begin this summer. The hangar should be open for business by this time next year, airport manager Glenn Januska said Thursday.

Courtesy, Casper-Natrona County International Airport

The State Loan and Investment Board is composed of the five statewide elected officials: Gov. Matt Mead, Secretary of State Edward Murray III, Treasurer Mark Gordon, Auditor Cynthia Cloud, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.

During the 15-minute review of the project, board members asked Januska about the airport, the project and the prospects for attracting businesses, he said.

The airport has received inquiries from aviation businesses about the possibility of using such a hangar with shop facilities, Januska said.

He also has been talking to companies that may decide in the future to move here, and that takes time.

"It's not just, 'we build it, they'll come," Januska said.

"We have a very specific target we're looking for in this regard," he said. "And they asked if I'd gotten any response and so forth, and I said, 'it's a relationship development.'"

The Wyoming Business Council had previously recommended the grant proposal at its meeting on March 12, and the Natrona County Commission gave its approval last fall, Januska said.