Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport wants to make more room for aviation tenants.
The airport’s governing board has given Airport Director Barbara McNally and the Development Committee permission to seek a grant from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission to help pay for a new hangar at the airport. Airport Development Committee Chairman Ed Petersen said the commission has a Hangar Development Program that would provide successful applicants with either a low-interest loan for 70 percent of the hangar’s cost, or a grant totaling 40 percent of its total cost.
“We need the space,” Petersen said of the opportunity. “It’s a win-win.”
McNally said the proposal is especially attractive because the proposed funding covers an expense usually left completely to the airport, unlike other aviation-related projects that qualify for federal matching funds.
“It’s so unusual for us,” McNally said. “There usually is no money from the FAA or Aeronautics Commission for hangars.”
McNally said her recommendation was the 40 percent grant, which would mean funding the Lawton Metropolitan Area Airport Authority would not have to repay. That also would mean the airport must come up with 60 percent of the projected $1.3 million cost of the new hangar or $520,000. McNally said the airport authority could seek funding from the City of Lawton (the airport’s sponsoring agency) from its Capital Improvements Program, then repay those funds when tenants move into the new hangar and begin paying rent.
“It will produce revenue as soon as it is complete,” she said, of the proposed hangar that is being planned to house aviation tenants.
The new hangar would be similar to the airport’s Hangar 3, housing four or five aircraft. Airport officials already have identified the site for the new hangar, vacant property west of Hangar 3 and Hangar 5 (which houses the airport’s administrative and aviation services offices). All are adjacent to the runway and taxiway.
McNally said last week she already has prepared the pre-application and was waiting for airport authority approval to complete the paperwork. The aeronautics commission is expected to make a decision on the grants and loans at its October or November meeting.
Airport authority members have discussed the issue several times in recent months, saying there are commercial and personal aircraft owners who are storing their aircraft at airports outside of Lawton who might be lured back to the city if space were available. McNally said Hangar 3 typically is full or near capacity.