CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia International Yeager Airport Director and CEO Dominque Ranieri says the airport board is hopeful the ongoing $5.1 million General Aviation Apron Expansion project will be their first major groundbreaking ceremony this year.

The project was a main topic up for discussion during Wednesday’s board meeting at the airport with the Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority.

Dominque Ranieri

Wednesday the board approved a reimbursable agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the project, which Ranieri said will allow them to review construction plans under the agreement that are subject to affect FAA equipment, as well as to implement staff with the administration to monitor the equipment during construction.

Ranieri said CRW will soon have construction bids going out on the project to expand the airport’s apron and hope to have the construction officially underway for it by late summer or early fall.

“It has been under design for quite a while, and we’re looking forward to moving forward and actually getting it done,” Ranieri said.

She said a Congressional Directed Spending award has made the project possible at CRW.

Ranieri said the project will add additional pavement all the way down to near where the General Aviation is located at the airport to create more space for aircraft carriers.

“If you’ve visited the airport recently you may have noticed in that area where the private aircraft come to the airport we are running out of parking, so this allows us to gain additional pavement for aircraft parking,” she said.

Ranieri said the project will open up much more space at the airport, and she said they are very excited to be moving forward with it.

“It is a great opportunity to expand the General Aviation area of the airport which welcomes tons of business travelers that are coming to our state as well as general aviators that are just passionate flyers, so, anything we can do to fit more of that at our airport we are very excited to do,” she said.

In addition, it was also announced during Wednesday’s airport board meeting that three new officers join the CRW PD.

Officers Mike Sims, Tom Carper and Stan Miller were sworn in on Feb. 2 and all come to the airport with previous experience in law enforcement careers.

Ranieri said this helps boost officer retention at the airport and will improve its around-the-clock safety standards.

“We strive to have at least two police officers on staff at the airport 24 hours a day.” she said. “We had a few police officers notify us that they were going to retire or a few that wanted to go part-time, so Chief Johnson was able to recruit some new officers to join us, we’re very excited.”

Finally, a couple of upcoming March events were announced at Wednesday’s meeting.

Ranieri is set to speak at the Charleston Area Alliance’s Elevations Professional Women’s Network Luncheon series on March 11 at University of Charleston starting at 11:30 a.m.

And, Hercules, the working Border Collie and the Airport Wildlife Patrol dog will join the Kanawha County Public Library and the community in celebration of his 7th birthday. That event is set for March 27 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the library’s main location on Capitol Street. Everyone is invited to come out and attend.