Property Acquisition Vital to Expansion of Airport
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 12, 2008) – Funding from the Missouri Department of Transportation is making it possible for UCM to acquire land needed to move forward with proposed runway expansion at Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport.
Through a real estate closing in late December, the university purchased two parcels of property - a total of 36.4 acres - owned by Cheryl and Richard Goodrich, Sr., located on the south side of Highway 50 and south of the airport. MoDOT is paying 90 percent of the $632,283 cost for the land, which will officially be turned over to the university on April 1. The former owners have responsibility to remove any personal property or debris from the site prior to delivery.
Partnerships Make Progress Possible
“We’re making progress on a lot of fronts at the airport, and value the partnerships that are helping to make this possible,” said University President Aaron Podolefsky. “Such partnerships will be essential as we move forward with our long-range plans.”
In order to meet federal aviation requirements that apply to any future runway extension, it is necessary for the university to obtain the Goodrich property, said Alice Greife, dean of UCM’s College of Science and Technology. She added, “We are grateful that MoDOT continues to recognize the value of this airport as a community resource, and is willing to offer such tremendous financial support.”
Future Development Includes Runway Extension
Future airport development includes the extension of the current runway to 5,500 feet in length by a width of 100 feet. The current runway is 4,206 by 75 feet.
“When we extend the runway it will change the configuration of our aircraft safety area,” said Phillip Florey, airport manager.
Safety Considerations Require Compatible Land Use
Although the extended runway will stop north of Highway 50, the property obtained on the south side of the highway will enable the airport to meet federal aviation requirements regarding compatible land use, and provide a runway protection or safety zone for landing and departing aircraft. No construction will be allowed on the former Goodrich property that could impair safety. The extended runway will accommodate small jet aircraft, less than 18 passengers, Florey said.
According to Larry Ray, UCM manager of capital land development, additional funding will be needed before the university can move forward with the runway extension, which is part of the airport’s master plan. The university in August 2008 hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the first steps toward long-term airport development. Currently, the university is engaged in a 180-day project that will improve storm water drainage at the airport, create a new access road, and provide excavation and leveling needed for future building projects. Funding sources include $1.35 million in MoDOT’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program grants, and more than $1 million in fiscal year 2008 federal appropriations. This 180-day project is approximately 50 percent complete, Ray said. Future building projects, to be funded by a variety of public and private sources, will include a new terminal building and hangars for use by the university and the community.
He noted that the next major project will be the creation of a new taxiway and apron for airplane parking. The university will seek additional financial support from MoDOT to help cover the cost of the development, estimated at about $2 million.
Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport is the only airport in the state of Missouri owned by a public university. It is both an important educational facility for the university’s nationally known aviation programs, and a community airport, used by private pilots.
For More Information
Learn more about UCM's aviation programs by contacting the Department of Aviation at 660-543-4975.