Aerial view of the Gary-Chicago International Airport with its newly extended runway

The Gary-Chicago International Airport.

John J. Watkins, The Times, file

GARY — The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority entered into four contracts Friday to advance construction on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility it expects to open early this summer.

Concrete work was awarded to Walker Construction, of Merrillville; exterior carpentry to Gariup Construction, of Gary; and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning and plumbing contracts to Gatlin Plumbing and Heating, of Griffith.

The contracts ranged from about $45,000 to $55,000 and totaled just under $203,000. Each of the contractors has made commitments regarding minority and Gary resident employment.

Roof work is ongoing at the building that will house the customs facility, which is located near the airport terminal in a building that also houses the airport's fire and rescue department.

The board rejected bids for an electrical contract because the project manager, Pat Lee, of Gary-based Lee Companies, recommended separating a contract for security systems from the electrical contract.

"We discovered that the security provisions in the electrical contract are worth as much or more than the power distribution," Lee said.

The two were initially combined, but Lee said some bidders were not able to get quotes for security equipment required by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. That led to bids ranging from just under $91,000 to nearly $228,000, depending on whether they included the security portion.

Lee said Customs and Border Patrol is revising the specifications, after which the contracts will be let for bidding, as will contracts for framing and drywall, finishing carpentry, painting, flooring, landscaping and other work.

The customs facility will serve general aviation flights arriving at the airport.

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Transportation reporter

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.