Saturday, April 8, 2017

Newly constructed hangar to bring economic boom in Ames, Iowa

AMES, Iowa —   

Hundreds of community members and pilots drove or flew into the Ames Municipal Airport bright early Saturday as the community came together to celebrate a major milestone.

A new airport hangar is set to change the face of Ames.

Pilots Terry Schleisman said his passion is flying his 70-year-old Piper Cub. “It’s just a tremendous sense of freedom. Just fun, just unbound," he said.

Schleisman bonded with other aviation enthusiasts while celebrating a new 11,400-square-foot hangar.

“That puts us in the class of an airport where we can get bigger planes in versus where people may just want to go to Des Moines,” said Damion Pregitzer, airport manager and traffic engineer. “That lets them come here, do business in Ames, which is important to us.”

It’s all part of a modernization project, which also includes construction of a new terminal, bringing with it an economic boost to the area.

“When you have the facilities that can support a certain level of economy, that’s when you start to see people not just wanting to come here, but actually base their business here, their aircraft here,” Pregitzer said. “It all works together in the big picture for Ames."

It’s a culmination of six years’ worth of hard work between a private-public sector partnership.

“For many people that visit Ames, this will now be our front door,” said Rick Sanders, chairman of the Story County Board of Supervisors. “This will be their first impression of Ames.”

Leaders say it opens the door for pilots like Schleisman to come to Ames more frequently.

“It’s only the beginning, so what we hope is this will be a catalyst to get more growth, maybe get more hangars, more aircraft, on the field,” Pregitzer said. “It’s only up from here, really.”

The new hanger can hold 12 business jet-size aircraft at a time. The terminal is halfway done. It is scheduled to be complete by July 1. 

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