The Madill Municipal Airport has been named Airport of the Year.

The award was presented earlier this month when the Oklahoma Airport Operators Association met for its annual conference in Tulsa.

David Sprouse, Madill Municipal Airport manager, said after hearing OAOA president and Ardmore Airport manager Chris Bryant announce that the top airport was located near Ardmore, he thought the Marshall County facility had a chance to win.

“With us being a small airport, you wouldn’t think we would win since there are more airports larger than ours around the state that are able to do more (projects). So, needless to say, I was very surprised and happy that we won,” Sprouse said.

Sprouse said the airport has undergone several improvements over the last couple of years that may have contributed to its selection as Airport of the Year, including a rehabilitation of the runway, taxiway and apron. However, he said he believes the recent renovation of a storage facility located at the airport into a pilot’s lounge may have been the deciding factor.

“Many pilots, including those working for Big Tex Trailers here in the city, would fly in and not have anywhere to go while company executives were in their meetings. There were no restrooms, and sometimes, they would even stay in their aircraft for several hours, especially during really cold days,” he said.

Local pilots Larry and David McDaniel were extremely influential in getting donations to renovate the storage unit, Sprouse explained. Along with financial help from Big Tex Trailers, a major user of the airport, and the family of Dick Phillips, a long-time pilot in Madill who is now deceased, the city of Madill was able to convert that old storage facility into a nicely equipped lounge, complete with central air and heat and, more importantly, separate men’s and women’s restrooms.

As for any other airport projects on the horizon, Sprouse said a runway extension was one possibility.

“We would like to get to the point where our runway is long enough to bring in some of the larger, twin-engine aircraft,” he said, adding an extension would mean at least another 600 to 800 feet of runway pavement.