Monday, March 26, 2001

Airport's eager for terminal to be started

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — An important stage in the evolution of the Butler County Regional Airport begins Tuesday when the county breaks ground for the new terminal.

        The $1.3 million building will replace the double-wide trailer that has served as the temporary terminal for more than two years.

        The new terminal is considered a key improvement to the county-owned airport, which plays a prominent role in Butler's plans to lure businesses to the area. The facility is expected to open in a year.

        “The terminal will be a milestone in the development of the airport,” Butler County Commissioner Courtney Combs said. “This terminal will be a facility that we can all be proud of.”

        The project is being financed by the federal government, Butler County, Hamilton and Fairfield, and West Chester and Fairfield townships.

        Seyferth Building Co. of Cincinnati is the general contractor. “If the weather cooperates, they could have it done in 10 months,” said Ron Davis, airport administrator.

Tight quarters

               Since the demolition of the airport's concrete-block terminal more than two years ago, the airport staff has been working in severely cramped space in the trailer. Large rolled-up plans and other papers are stacked on top of file cabinets and boxes for lack of space.

        Mr. Davis said the new terminal will make a much better impression on businesspeople and pilots who fly into the airport.

        “You can imagine people stepping off of a $26 million jet and walking into this trailer,” he said.

        About six businesses have expressed an interest in building hangars at the airport once the 7,300-square-foot terminal is completed, Mr. Davis said. Two are interested in manufacturing aircraft parts at the airport, he said.

Busy airport

               The new terminal's first floor will include a passengerwaiting area, a pilots lounge, a flight planning room and a flight training classroom. The second floor will have offices for the airport administration and for Pro Arro, the fixed-base operator that provides fueling and service for private and corporate aircraft.

        The airport has 124 aircraft based there and has 60,000 takeoffs and landings per year.

        During the past three years, more than $10 million has been spent to upgrade the airport, which straddles Hamilton and Fairfield.


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