Aviation degrees move to University College, new education facility coming to airport

Published: Feb 03, 2017
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The Auburn University Board of Trustees agreed at its Feb. 3 meeting to move aviation programs currently in the Harbert College of Business to the University College, allowing students more flexibility in completing aviation-related coursework.

Constance Relihan, associate provost of undergraduate studies and director of University College, said the change will essentially end the current aviation management and professional flight management degree programs in the Harbert College and restart them under the University College.

Currently, students in either degree program in the Harbert College are required to take a number of business courses in order to graduate. By moving the degree programs under the University College, Relihan and Bill Hutto, director of the Auburn University Regional Airport and the Auburn Aviation Center, said the requirement will not exist, allowing students to spend more time on aviation-related coursework and/or flight time.

"Moving the degree programs will greatly benefit our aviation students," said Hutto. "Those seeking a degree in professional flight will be able to qualify for the Restricted-Airline Transport Pilot, or R-ATP, at 1,000 hours, and students in both degrees will graduate with an expanded aviation education as a result of the increased number of core aviation courses they will take."

The move will subsequently create a Department of Aviation within the University College.

The program realignment will be voted on at the Alabama Commission on Higher Education meeting in June.

Students currently enrolled in the Harbert College programs will have the option of completing their studies in the business school or moving to University College, Relihan added.

The board also granted final approval to build a two-story, 23,000-square-foot Airport Aviation Education Facility at the airport, adjacent to the south ramp. The building will house classrooms, a flight simulator lab, debriefing rooms and flight dispatch and departmental spaces. Construction on the $8.7 million project is slated to start this summer and finish in July 2018.

Hutto called the new facility a "game changer" for aviation at Auburn.

Also at the meeting:

  • Trustee Raymond J. Harbert, chair of the presidential search committee, said the search for Auburn's next president is under way and the committee is on target to have a new president in place this summer. The search began last fall after Jay Gogue asked the board to begin the process of finding his successor.
  • The board granted final approval for five additional building projects on campus:
    • The 85,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center to be located near South College Street and Woodfield Drive, across from the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. A significant portion of the $65 million cost was a gift from 1957 alumni John and Rosemary Brown. Construction is expected to start this summer and be completed in two years.
    • The Browns' gift also supports the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center, a three-story, 142,000-square-foot facility. Construction is slated to start this May and be completed in April 2019. To read more about this project, click here.
    • The ballroom areas in The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, approximately 17,000 square feet of space, will be renovated. Plans call for expanding Ballroom A, as well as renovating and refinishing Ballroom B and the associated conference center corridors, gathering areas and storage rooms. The cost of an estimated $3.65 million will be paid with university general funds. Construction will begin in April and be completed in November.
    • The basement of the Recreation and Wellness Center will be built out to provide space for powerlifting and Olympic-style weightlifting, personal and small group training and offices for personal training and marketing staff. The renovation includes approximately 13,700 square feet of unfinished basement space. Cost is an estimated $2.9 million, which will be paid with campus recreation funds. Construction will run from March to October 2017.
    • A new 44,000-square-foot, multi-story facility will be added to the southwest corner of Jordan-Hare Stadium as a Gameday Support Facility. It will contain recruiting space for football and Olympic sports, new club space for fans and a new press box. Also, the existing home locker room, approximately 16,000 square feet, will be renovated. The $28 million cost will be paid with athletics department funds. Construction should start in May and be complete in July 2018.

In other matters, the board agreed to:

  • Initiate a project to construct a new facility to support the equestrian team and select Goodwyn Mills Cawood of Birmingham as project architect.
  • Award posthumous degrees from Auburn University at Montgomery to Elizabeth Ellis Wood and Makenzie Rae Martine.
  • Set 2017-18 meeting dates as follows: Sept. 15, Nov. 10, Feb. 9, April 20 and June 8.
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