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Tue, Feb 26, 2013

New Aviation Training Center Coming To Fairhope, AL

Public-Private Partnership Will Make The Facility A Reality

A partnership between H.L. "Sonny" Callahan Airport (KCQF), the city of Fairhope, the state of Alabama, two community colleges, the Baldwin County Board of Education, and others will result in the establishment of a $2.5 million aviation training center at the airport. Officials from the interested parties gathered Friday at the Continental Motors hangar at the airport to announce the project.

Among the partners are Faulkner State Community College and Enterprise State Community College. The 15,000 square foot facility that will be built by the Fairhope Airport Authority will consist of three 5,000-square-foot classrooms on the airport's west side, according to Chuck Zunk of the airport authority. The online news source AL.com reports that the airport authority will hold the note on the building, but it will be leased by the Baldwin County School Board.

Classes in technical aviation skills and others will be offered to dual-enrollment high school juniors and seniors, as well as adults enrolled through the two community colleges.

At a news conference announcing the plan, Faulkner State Community College president Gary Branch said that students will get training in "high-paying fields" while the taxpayers will save money. "They will be able to support their communities and their families," he said.

Zunk said that the building would be constructed in such a way that it can easily grow along with the program. He said that the next steps would include architectural drawings and securing financing, which he said was "pretty well in hand" through negotiations with local banks. "We have everything ready to go," he said.

FMI: www.airnav.com/airport/KCQF, www.cofairhope.com/ser_airport.php

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