Hancock County infrastructure projects see expansion of Stennis International Airport
HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Stennis International Airport is continuing to expand with multi-million dollar infrastructure projects. The latest, a jet engine run-up pad, will set the airport apart from most general aviation airports in the nation.
“The pad will actually give Stennis Airport the capability to test and certify attack, fighter and trainer jet classes,” said Alex Davis, Neel Shcaffer’s project manager for Hancock County. “The pad itself will be approximately 40 feet wide by 80 feet deep. It’s got twenty four inches of concrete in the center with six inches of concrete on either side so the jets will be backed in for the testing.”
The $1.2 million project is locally funded. Construction is underway and will be complete at the end of April. Next, $3 million will be spent on adding a 98,000 square foot apron.
“The apron is where the aircraft -- after they land on the runway, they’ll taxi via taxiway and they’ll park on the aprons,” Davis said. “That gives the airport’s tenants more opportunity to bring in larger air craft and additional aircraft, which helps generate revenue and helps grow and expand the overall operation.”
Along with the apron and pad, a 6,100 square foot hanger is in the works. It will be adjacent to a hanger built with RESTORE Act funds.
“Having that run up pad, having apron expansion, focusing on site development is going to continue to have Stennis International be a tremendous asset to the gulf coast,” said Blaine LaFontaine, the executive director of Hancock County Port and Harbor.
Hancock County’s plan for economic expansion in the area also goes beyond the gates of Stennis International.
“We’re looking at trying to expand -- in the coming year -- a tech park space which is a 40 acre facility and building that will allow our existing incubator in industry to grow and expand, add new jobs, look at some private capitol,” said LaFontaine. “Hancock County is looking at 30 to 40 million dollars in investment over the next 24 months right here at Stennis International. We see that -- the long term viability, the competitiveness, the growth continue to thrive and hopefully be a key area to continue to drive South Mississippi’s economy.”
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