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Groundbreaking planned for airport

The Lawrence County Airport will host a public groundbreaking 11 a.

Tuesday, November 09, 1999

The Lawrence County Airport will host a public groundbreaking 11 a.m. Wednesday on new hangar sites scheduled for construction by February 2000.

Airport authorities and county commissioners also will open a new Computer Assisted Testing Site (CATS), the authorized provider of all Federal Aviation Association and Federal Communication Commission exams, airport Jay Conley said.

"This is only the beginning of a long list of plans for improvements for the benefit of our local communities," he said.

Tri-State Aviation Technologies Center, the group originally formed by county educators to run the Lawrence County Airpark, is leasing the airport from commissioners under a new non-profit status with Conley at the helm.

The non-profit status allows private and public contributions and grants to be sought for growing the airport’s educational plans, Conley said.

With cooperative agreements between schools like Collins Career Center, Ohio University and Marshal University, the center can provide aviation, maintenance, aircraft vo-tech training, while at the same time providing a landing strip for private and commercial pilots, he said.

The airport also sells fuel, rents aircraft, conducts tours, offers hangar space, as well as housing flight and parachute schools.

Although the Lawrence County Educational Service Center pulled out of the airport in July, citing liability and legal issues, educators will serve in an advisory capacity to the aviation center and airport, county superintendent Harold Shafer said.

Nobody wanted to abandon the idea of an aviation school because of today’s tremendous demand for employees in such careers, and the center’s non-profit status was the answer, he said.