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Pease Hangar Construction to Resume a Year After Guard Fired Contractor

After being halted for nearly a year, construction of two aircraft hangars at the Pease Air National Guard Base is set to resume next month.

Work on the hangars stopped in December 2016 when the New Hampshire National Guard terminated the nearly $32 million contract with Cutter Enterprises, LLC of Connecticut for what officials say were problems with the quality of the work and failure to make sufficient progress.

The multi-year contract, awarded in 2015, spelled out that Cutter would expand two existing hangars at Pease to fit the new KC-46A Pegasus by January 2018. This deadline has now been moved back to October 2018 for the first hangar and October 2019 for the second.

Col. Paul Loiselle is Commander of the 157th Mission Support Group at Pease Air National Guard Base, which will be the main operating base for the Pegasus. Loiselle declined to comment on the nature of the problems the National Guard encountered with Cutter, citing pending litigation.

"It has not yet gone to court, but we expect, and have been told, that it will go to court, most likely this coming summer," he said.

Court records show Cutter has been sued for not paying subcontractors for work on Quonset Air Base in Rhode Island and at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts. Both cases were settled. Cutter Enterprises did not respond to NHPR's requests for comment.

The new construction company, VERTEX, will begin work next week.

The first of about a dozen KC-46A aircrafts is scheduled to arrive by September 2018, and a spokesman for the Guard says they're optimistic the first hangar will be completed in time for its arrival.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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