A steering team for the Kent State University Airport has begun planning the development of a new master plan.
The public may help determine the future of the airport by participating in a series of public information meetings in early 2013.
Kent State University has owned the public-use, general aviation airport since 1942 and uses the facility to support its Aeronautics Program, one of 32 accredited aviation education programs worldwide.
The airport is a critical asset for the Aeronautics Program, which serves more than 560 students in five areas of concentration under the bachelor of science degree in aeronautics.
"One of the many things that makes Kent State University a special place is its delivery of programs and majors not offered on other college campuses," said Todd Diacon, Kent State's senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.
"As I like to say, 'different is good,' and a strong aviation program makes Kent State a destination university for many of our students," Diacon said. "Having modern airport facilities is the basic building block for the continued excellence of this program."
In 2004, the airport completed a master plan, which was then updated in 2006. At that time, the university was considering closing the airport and moving operations to another nearby airport.
University leaders are now reassessing the recommendations of the previous plan, and a new plan is required to take a fresh look at the airport's assets and to determine its needs.
According to the university, the airport is a significant economic driver locally, supporting not only the university's Aeronautics Program, but also local businesses, community services and private pilots.
The new master plan must take into account how the airport can best serve the needs of all members of the community.
"I am pleased that the airport master plan is being developed to guide and support upcoming operating and investment strategies," said Gregg Floyd, senior vice president for finance and administration at Kent State.
"We have deferred any reinvestments in the facilities and infrastructure until this master plan is completed, and the needs are becoming urgent," Floyd said.
For more information about the development of the master plan, visit www.KSUAirportPlan.com.