EKU grant will boost aviation program

Apr. 29—RICHMOND — President David McFaddin joined Congressman Andy Barr to announce Eastern Kentucky University's application for $3.5 million in federal funding was awarded to construct a $4.5 million general aviation terminal at the Central Kentucky Regional Airport.

The funds were awarded out of Community Fund dollars from the House Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. EKU will match $1 million of the funding awarded, bringing the total funding to $4.5 million.

"This critical federal funding for the Central Kentucky Regional Airport's new terminal, will fuel the growth of EKU's Aviation program and regional economic development," Barr said. "This isn't just an investment in infrastructure; it's a step forward for aviation education in Kentucky. I am proud to deliver Kentuckians' hard-earned tax dollars back to the community ensuring our Commonwealth remains a leader in aviation excellence."

Central Kentucky Regional Airport, in Madison County, is the third busiest general aviation airport in the state and the busiest in the 6th Congressional District. It's home to Kentucky's only four-year aviation degree program, serving more than 400 EKU students with a 99% placement rate upon graduation.

The airport, managed by EKU in cooperation with the City of Berea, the City of Richmond and the Madison County Fiscal Court, has been successful in spite of the outdated facilities.

The current terminal is a 50-year-old facility, originally built to accommodate small volumes of general aviation traffic. In the last 10 years, airport traffic has dramatically increased due to general aviation traffic and the growth of EKU's Aviation program. Along with the current terminal, two government surplus trailers were brought onto the property to provide relief classrooms and training space for EKU Aviation students.

Construction of the new terminal will enable Central Kentucky Regional Airport to accommodate the volume of customers as well as the needs of a modern-day pilot. Outdated facilities and electrical and plumbing that cannot handle user demands will be addressed, as well as pilot rest areas and enhanced weather briefing space; community space to accommodate emergency response and business meetings; terminal that reflects a real-life experience for flight students; terminal that provides improved services for general aviation and corporate pilots; ADA-accessible facility; parking for an increased volume of student, general aviation and corporate pilots; appropriate space for monitoring air traffic; and an inviting and professional "front door" for general aviation pilots, corporate clients, community members and prospective and current EKU Aviation students

The Central Kentucky Regional Airport is in central Kentucky, off Interstate 75. A partnership between EKU and Central Kentucky Regional Airport has brought significant growth to the airport, along with a hands-on learning experience for thousands of flight students.