CHARLESTON W.Va. — Yeager Airport will soon have a half dozen construction projects taking place at once.
The status of six multi-million dollar projects were covered Wednesday at the airport’s monthly board meeting. Funding for the work is due in large part to federal grants.
“This has been an extraordinary year up here,” Yeager Airport Director Terry Sayre said. “We usually have only $2 million to $5 million worth of construction per year. We got the money up here for the rebuild of the five end of the runway and that was $24 million. To get these two grants, one for the road over at the general aviation for almost $4 million and one for the solar project for another $4 million is quite unusual but we are very happy.
“We couldn’t thank Senator Manchin, Senator Capito, Congressman Jenkins and Governor Justice enough for all the help getting us this funding.”
Some of the construction includes the Runway 5 Rebuild project continuing to rebuild what collapsed in March of 2015, the Taxiway Project installing new LED lights and pavement, the Solar Project which is in Phase 1 of implanting solar panels to power the parking garages and lots outside, the GA Roadway going around the back side of the airport, and the Thrasher Engineering Project looking at security updates such as new fencing, card access readers, cameras and computers services.
“I think all this construction says we’re making progress here at Yeager,” Sayre said. “We were in a bad place three years ago and we’ve literally dug ourselves out of a hole. By us buying out the general aviation area and operating that, and I think with the new road in hopes of us getting a cargo facility up here and a university for teaching pilots, that those are all great opportunities and great for jobs in our community. It’s good for the local economy.”
The airport is around $10 to $12 million into the $24 million project of rebuilding Runway 5 and on Phase 1 of the $3.8 million grant of the Solar Project. Sayre hopes to get rewarded Phase 2 of the Solar Project, which will help power the terminal, next year.
“It’s a challenge,” Sayre said of trying to handle the day-to-day operations of the airport during construction. “Our people are in charge of escorting the contractors and suppliers. It takes away from some of the things that need done in the terminal from time to time but our people are able to juggle whats necessary to be done first and prioritize things.”
According to Sayre, the enplanement numbers have been up at Yeager airport for the past five months.
“It feels like a rebirth to us,” Sayre said. “Especially with operating the the capital jet center and operating all those new employees. We have about 100 employees here that we try to take care of.
“I’m really happy that enplanements are up. I think that’s an indicator that the West Virginia economy has turned around and I think our marketing department has done a great job. More people going in and out of here is good for us.”