University Park Airport receives news of $251,690 grant for tower

April 16, 2010

University Park, Pa. — Penn State officials were notified Thursday (April 15) by Congressman Glenn Thompson, R-Howard, that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the University Park Airport in State College a $251,690 grant for the second phase of construction for a new air traffic control tower.

“These grant funds are a key source for the siting and the construction of the airport’s first air traffic control tower facility,” said Bryan Rodgers, director of the University Park Airport. “It's expected that construction of the tower will be complete in November 2010 and the tower will become operational in January 2011."

Rep. Thompson said the funding, which comes from the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program under the U.S. Department of Transportation, will allow the start of electrical work as well as enable the siting for the 82-foot tall tower. The tower was determined necessary by the FAA and the University Park airport management. It is expected to improve efficiency and safety at and around the airport.

An elevated octagonal tower cab is part of the tower design and will provide a full 360-degree view for air traffic control operations and perimeter equipment. The height and placement of the tower site were determined by the FAA using criteria that would allow a view of critical aircraft operation areas. The tower also will provide space for mechanical and communications equipment. In addition to the tower, construction at the airport will include a new sidewalk, parking that meets American with Disabilities Act requirements, and security fencing.

"These continuing improvements will ensure a level of safety and operational efficiency at the University Park Airport," Rodgers said. When operational, the new tower and accompanying improvements also should increase the ability of airport to attract general aviation operators and to improve air service for the region.

The final design of the tower was approved by Penn State's Board of Trustees in September 2009. Construction of the tower will allow the University Park Airport to enter the FAA's Federal Contract Tower Program. A total of 242 airports in 46 states currently participate in this program.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 21, 2010