HUNTINGBURG, Ind. – The Dubois County Airport Authority is looking to expand the Huntingburg Regional Airport by investing approximately $6 million to build a new terminal.
The new, 6,000-square-foot facility will replace the existing terminal that was built in 1960 and that DCAA President Jim Hunsicker says has “exceeded its lifespan.”
The terminal, when complete, will include private offices, a pilot lounge with quiet rooms for flight planning, and a second-floor observation mezzanine.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Hunsicker said a new terminal would provide benefits beyond just having more space.
“When you get off an airplane, your first opinion’s based on what you see,” Hunsicker said. “A nice-looking term makes a quite a large impression on a new person coming in that’s looking to locate a new business in the area, or just to make people feel at home and comfortable.”
The new facility would also include a conference room, simulator room, break area, electric vehicle charging stations and a custom geothermal HVAC system to improve energy efficiency.
Hunsicker said an updated terminal would also support local high school students who take part in dual-credit classes daily at the airport. The new facility would provide a more professional setting for them to learn about careers in aviation.
“What we’re trying to do there is to open up the field of aviation to help [students] realize that there are jobs out there that are well paying jobs in the pilot industry. Plus, there are also jobs in maintenance, in managing airports, and different functions of aviation.”
The updated professional look is key to further development in the area, Hunsicker said.
“We also have almost 200 acres of ground that could be developed into aeronautical type businesses,” he said. “And so we’re always out looking to see if we can bring an industry in and support the airport and have it right there on on the ground.”
The DCAA has tapped Ohio-based Woolpert to handle design, structural engineering, surveying, planning and construction administration services for the project. The firm said the design is inspired by Dubois County’s German heritage, using many natural materials.
Woolpert said the design of the terminal is focused on sustainability with features such as the geothermal HVAC system. The building will also be constructed with the ability to add solar panels in the future.
The firm previously worked with the airport on a $7 million runway expansion in 2020.
The airport authority is seeking a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to cover the majority of the cost of the project. Hunsicker said right now, a grant would make up about 85% of the funding with the rest coming from local funds, though the actual amount could change.
Officials plan to submit for a grant later this year and hope to land funding in early 2024, with construction shortly thereafter. If funding is secured, Hunsicker said the project could be complete in late 2025 or early 2026.