Airport earns $217K in federal funding for sustainable master plan

October 26, 2012

The time to update its 20-25 year master plan was approaching, and officials at the University Park Airport saw an opportunity to receive federal funding to create a Sustainable Airport Master Plan. 

The airport’s application was accepted and University Park is now the 13th airport in the country -- and first in the state -- to receive funding from the Federal Aviation Administration to make its future development operations “greener.” 

The 18-month plan provides the airport with $217,000 in federal airport improvement funding to address sustainability. With the airport's relationship with the University and the surrounding community, it was an ideal choice for funding.  

“There is a variety of reasons why we are a good candidate,” Airport Director Bryan Rodgers said. “Penn State brings something to the table in terms of sustainability. We’ll be able to work with the Campus Sustainability Office, and bring in students to make it a learning experience.”  

Rodgers added, “Given the airport's proximity to Spring Creek, we are geared toward protecting Spring Creek and recognizing it as a valuable resource. We will develop the airport based on justifiable need and continue to do that in a responsible manner.”  

The plan will be a part of the airport's overall master planning, which looks 20 to 25 years into the future. It forecasts aircraft operations; such as take offs, landings, types of aircraft, passenger demand, and identifies facilities and development needed to meet the forecasted demand. 

“We try to predict if something will change, how will it change, and how we’ll handle it,” Rodgers said. “We bring in the sustainability aspect, and we learn how to do it all responsibly.” 

The firm Mead & Hunt Inc. was selected to assist in creating the master plan. Communication with the municipalities, the University and students will continue throughout the decision-making period. The FAA and Penn DOT Bureau of Aviation will also be involved during the 18-month process. 

“We want a good cross section of individuals from the community,” Rodgers said. “That’s why we’re bringing in the Chamber of Business and Industry, municipal representatives, Clearwater Conservancy, and others.” 

The funding provides a unique opportunity for the airport to evaluate future development and identify ways to improve its efficiency and sustainability. Rodgers said this could mean anything from bringing in solar power to cutting down energy costs. 

“We are obviously pretty pleased the FAA selected us for these additional dollars,” Rodgers said. “It’s nice to see the University Park Airport get its name in there with some of the other high performing airports.”  

Other airports to receive funding include Dallas/Fort Worth International, Logan International, Salt Lake City International, Seattle-Tacoma International, Tampa International and others.

  • The control tower on the University Park Airport

    Penn State's University Park Airport will evaluate its future planning and operations to see where it can be more sustainable.

    IMAGE: University Park Airport
Last Updated October 29, 2012