Auburn University's planned Aviation Education Facility moving forward with $5 million in new state funding

Published: May 12, 2016
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Auburn University will receive $5 million from the state's 2017 fiscal year budget toward construction of a new Aviation Education Facility, following Gov. Robert Bentley's recent signing of the bill.

The planned 23,000-square-foot facility will replace an outdated structure built in 1950 that has limited space as well as maintenance issues. University officials soon will begin the design process and will present a proposal to the Board of Trustees later this year seeking construction bids. Construction could begin in early 2017.

"This facility will benefit our aviation students immensely and will help us supply the aviation industry with highly qualified pilots and other professionals," Auburn University President Jay Gogue said. "We are grateful to Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Governor Bentley for their support."

Auburn's board in 2014 approved the selection of Walcott Adams Verneuille Inc. of Fairhope, Alabama, as the building's architect while university officials sought to secure funding for construction. The new facility, operated by the Auburn University Aviation Center, will be located on the southwest side of the Auburn University Regional Airport, across the runway from the modern terminal built in 2010. The site work for the Aviation Education Facility was completed as part of a previous project to develop aircraft hangar lots.

"The funding provides the catalyst for us to move forward with the construction," Aviation Center Director Bill Hutto said. "This modern, state-of-the-art facility will enhance aviation education at Auburn as we prepare students for the workforce and further support our accreditation with the Aviation Accreditation Board International.

"We are very grateful to Speaker Mike Hubbard, who has worked tirelessly to help us secure these dollars for our program."

Hutto says the Aviation Education Facility will be a key component in the recently announced aviation education partnership between Auburn University and the Alabama Community College System and will enhance the Aviation Center's outreach mission through K-12 educational events.

The university also plans to offer pilots outside the university the opportunity to use the latest in flight simulation technology in the facility to log flight time for Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

Auburn has been involved in aviation education for more than 80 years and has been providing flight training for pilots for 75 years. It offers degrees in aviation management, professional flight management and aerospace engineering. In 2015 Auburn received the nation's first FAA approval to operate a new Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School as part of the Aviation Center.

More information about the Auburn University Aviation Center is available at http://www.auburn.edu/academic/provost/aviationcenter.