Auburn University Regional Airport’s landscape has changed considerably over the past 12 months.
Some of these changes includes the demolition of old structures to make room for a new taxiway as well as the construction of new facilities for students.
“We were able to do quite a bit of work last year,” said airport director Bill Hutto.
Looking ahead, the airport is looking into construction of additional hangars and resurfacing the runways.
Construction of a new taxiway began in the late spring, early summer of 2018 to have the airport meet the Federal Aviation Administration safety standards.
The old taxiway was too close to the runway and was not stressed to handle the weight of certain aircraft at the airport.
Work on the new taxi way is expected to be complete in the next two to three months, Hutto told the Opelika-Auburn News on Thursday.
The new runway will be capable of handling 75,000 pounds and cost more than 4 million dollars to construct, according to reports.
To make way for the taxiway, the old terminal building – which was built in 1950 and used as an education building – was torn down. The old maintenance hangar, built in 1939 and located adjacent to the old terminal, was also demolished.
Delta Air Lines Education Building
Auburn University students and faculty will be making use of the new Delta Air Lines Aviation Education building when the spring semester starts this Wednesday.
A ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony was held in November to unveil the 23,000-square-foot facility, which is valued at around $10 million.
Delta Air Lines and the Jacobson Family Foundation gifted the university $6.2 million in 2017 to use toward the construction of the education building, to purchase an aircraft simulator and to create endowed faculty professorships within the aviation department.
Adjacent to the new education building is a new maintenance hangar.
The hangar opened in June 2018 as an upgraded replacement for the old hangar that was demolished for the taxiway project. The old hangar was also too small and wasn’t efficient, Hutto said.
“So being able to do that was a big deal as well,” Hutto said of the construction of the new hangar, which was about a $1.7 million project.
Moving forward, the airport is looking at a potential partnership with the Indian Pines Golf Course to purchase land for a safety area at the end of one of the runways, Hutto said. The safety area is to meet FAA standards to accommodate larger aircraft.
The purchase is dependent on acceptance of an appraised value and availability of funding from the FAA.
The potential purchase of land would provide funding for an upgrade to the 18-hole golf course. The course has already hired an architect to create plans for how it could be redesigned.
“That’s a potential win-win situation,” Hutto said.
This year the airport is also planning to get preliminary work done for the resurfacing project of the airport’s main runway, 18-36.
“They’re asphalt like roads, so we have to do work on them from time to time,” Hutto said, adding that the surface of the runway is about 20 years old.
The project is not expected to take place until 2020, but the design and engineering preliminary work will be done this year. The design of the runway does not include extension, Hutto said, but rather just the milling and resurfacing of the runway.
The airport is also considering whether it should resurface the east-west runway this year or to wait and do it as part of the main runway resurfacing project.
Soon the airport will conduct a survey for its airport tenants to determine the need for additional T-hangars, which are individual hangars located on the north side of the airport where individuals or businesses store their aircraft.
“We may – based on demand, I anticipate the demand will be high – that we will move forward constructing more hangars this year,” Hutto said.
There are more than 30 individuals on a waiting list for a hangar. The survey will update the list and see if the demand is still there, Hutto said.