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Barkley Regional begins control tower renovation

Staff report

A major renovation of the air traffic control tower at Barkley Regional Airport will begin this month.

The tower, built in 1974, will be dismantled down to its metal skeleton and additional supports will be added to comply with current seismic codes.

A new roof and HVAC system will be installed on the tower before it is resurfaced. The final phase of the renovation calls for the tower cab to be outfitted with new computers and weather related equipment, among other upgrades.

"We will be going from slips and handwritten logs to new computer terminals with touch screen interfaces," said John Oates, air traffic control manager.

A temporary control tower has been placed on the airfield adjacent to the terminal for use during the renovation. Lighting controls, communication and other equipment have been connected to the temporary tower.

Air traffic controllers will move to the temporary tower May 19.

"We want everyone to know that all airport operations will remain unaffected through the course of the renovation," said Airport Manager Richard Roof. "With the temporary tower in place, Barkley will still be a tower-controlled airport for the duration of the project. "

Money for the renovation was set aside as part of the Federal Aviation Administration's 2011-2012 budget, but delays in projects at other airports caused the start date to be pushed back. The project was put in jeopardy last year when the FAA threatened to close the 149 contract towers as part of the sequestration mandated cuts. However, Congress acted to protect the towers through 2015 and the project was again on track.

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