$500,000 grant to fund new terminal in LaFayette

$500,000 grant to fund new terminal in LaFayette

June 29th, 2011 by Andy Johns in News

Barwick-LaFayette Airport manager Phil Shelton talks about plans he has seen concerning a new terminal at the field. The airport recently received a $500,000 grant to rebuild the main terminal.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

LAFAYETTE, Ga. - Leaders in LaFayette say a new terminal at the Barwick-LaFayette Airport will "enhance our prospects" for industrial growth.

On Monday, Georgia officials announced a $500,000 grant from the One Georgia program that will be used to build a new terminal and tear down the terminal the airport has been using for 25 years.

"It'll just be a much nicer facility," said Phil Shelton, airport manager. "It'll make us much more attractive to [industries]."

Recently, the airport has been used by visiting representatives of companies looking at industrial property in Rock Spring and another group looking at the vacant building that used to house the Blue Bird bus-making company, Shelton said.

But when a corporate scouting group comes in, the pilots have only a chair in which to sit in the old terminal while their passengers attend meetings. Every time it rains, the staff finds new leaks in the roof.

"It's really dated," said city Councilman Eric Tallent, who is on the council's airport committee.

The new 2,600-square-foot terminal will include a rest area for pilots and room for new automated equipment, he said.

Tallent said the total project is expected to cost $700,000, and the city will pick up the rest of the tab. Much of the $200,000 gap after the grant probably will be covered by work from city crews, so the city could be on the hook for as little as $20,000, he said.

"It's a real help for industry in our area," said Tallent, who pointed out the airport's close proximity to the industrial park.

The current terminal will remain open as the new building is built, but it will be demolished once the new one comes online.