County airport may be in line for new repairs

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ECTOR COUNTY -- The Odessa-Schlemeyer Field airport may be due for some upgrades next year.

The airport takes about 3,000 flights every year.

All that traffic inevitably causes some wear and tear on the airstrip.

“There’s always some work to be done at Schlemeyer Field,” Ector County Public Works Project Manager David Peck said. “Taxiways, we got hangars that need work, lighting. There’s always some improvements to be made. We have an aging infrastructure.”

Among the needed improvements are the taxiways.

Throughout the airport cracks of all sizes break up the airstrips. It’s an issue Peck is in charge of fixing.

“I don’t like the cracked taxiways. If we can replace as much as we can as soon as we can that’s my goal,” he said.

Peck said it’s his job to survey the airport and recommend what improvements need to be budgeted for next year using an airport maintenance grant from TxDOT.

He said maintaining the airport’s quality is important since having an attractive place to land encourages more people to visit Odessa and do business.

“We’ve got a lot of traffic day to day,” Peck said. “You have the people who are just hobbyists, you have businessmen that want to fly places. We have pipeliners that hangar there. We have a lot of oilfield traffic in and out and I don’t see stopping anytime soon.”

Peck said he can’t give an estimate on how much the repairs would cost until he surveys the airport and determines which taxiways need to either be quickly patched up or completely redone.

He also says the county is also considering projects to improve the hangars and install an approach lighting system.

“So, it just needs some TLC every now and again,” Peck said. “Hopefully we can give it some soon.”