Contract approved to design NE State aviation program hangar

Hank Hayes • Apr 23, 2019 at 5:45 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Airport Authority commissioners on Tuesday approved a contract worth about $200,000 to design new hangar and classroom space to be leased by Northeast State Community College’s aviation maintenance technology program that is developing next-generation aircraft mechanics.

NSCC announced last February that it would move the program from Gray to Tri-Cities Airport, which sits next to the school.

“This is a really exciting project for us. … It’s a unique project as far as the airport is concerned,” said Jeff Reilly, senior project manager with Atkins, the engineering firm that works with Tri-Cities Airport and won the contract.

Airport officials are also viewing the project as a driver for their Aerospace Park development.

Boeing’s 2018 Pilot and Technician Outlook projected 189,000 civil aviation technicians would be needed in the next 15 to 20 years in North America, according to a release from NSCC.

The hangar — expected to cost around $3 million — is required for the program to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. NSCC is awaiting a $1.6 million Appalachian Regional Commission grant to help fund the project, while the airport has committed more than $500,000 in matching funds. After the design is completed and the project’s actual cost is known, airport Executive Director Gene Cossey promised other funding sources will be pursued.

“When it comes to actually funding the building, we’re going to have to get creative looking for ways to fund that,” Cossey told commissioners. “ … Our goal is to make it happen as quickly as possible. … We’re also going to design this in a way that it can be a multiuse facility.”

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