By Rhiannon Saegert
The Ardmore Airpark is up for some long-awaited renovations in 2018.
With the help of an on-call specialist who will work for the city to navigate FAA regulations, the Ardmore Development Authority plans to replace pavement on a main taxiway, finish control tower renovations, update some structures and demolish older buildings.
“I think you’re going to see continual cosmetic improvement to the airpark as we try to make it more appealing to business and industry,” Ardmore Development Authority director Mita Bates said. “You’re going to see us work with existing tenants to update their facilities to better meet their needs.”
The ADA has hit multiple snags during the process when renovation plans bumped up against FAA regulations. Bates said each time, getting issues resolved or asking questions about how to proceed could take weeks.
The airpark was originally an Air Force base during WWII. The base was later decommissioned, then reactivated during the Korean War before it was given to the city.
“So now if you go out there, you’ll still see a few existing buildings that are vintage, some slabs where we’ve demolished buildings and some footings,” Bates said.
Renovations on the control tower started in October 2015 and have cost roughly $1.9 million. The structure has been updated with more storage for more equipment. The control tower will be completed within the next 30 days.
“It’s been a lengthy process,” Bates said. “Again, that’s a perfect example. Had we had that FAA expertise we could have shortened some of the timeframes.”
The airpark is planning other smaller projects like repainting and rewiring, and has received funding from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission to buy hardstands, which are parking pads for airplanes and other heavy vehicles.
Taxiway Alpha, the airport’s original taxiway, has been partially repaved and is slated for completion next year.
“We completed part of it this year, and in 2018 we’ll begin phase two of that,” Bates said. “That’s huge because as you can imagine, you have pavement that’s many years old that was in pretty significant need of repair.”
One of the air base’s original hangars is being rewired as well.
“It was in desperate need of upgrading, just to meet today’s demands,” Bates said.