FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Major developments are underway at the Florence Regional Airport, as it is on the receiving end of a more than $3 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The grant is going toward beefing up safety. Security staff said those improvements are at the base of growing airport services.
"People see a lot of activity going on out here. We are trying to make improvements as we can. It will help better the airport and work towards getting a little bit more commercial service from the airlines," said Stephen Bailey, the airport's public safety chief.
Those who drive past FLO will see there are construction crews and heavy machinery all at work. The project is focused on improving public safety by building a state-of-the-art-facility.
"The additional space will allow office space, storage, training room, kitchen, sleeping quarters and additional facilities, which will help us maintain our index needs," Bailey said.
The current public safety building was built in the 90s. Now dated, it no longer supports the needs of the airport. This is the reason that back in May, airport officials applied for this grant.
The upcoming new public safety building (ARFF), which houses law enforcement and security detail, will further equip the crew to be prepared to provide emergency fire and law enforcement protection. Both willl be needed if newer, bigger carriers set up shop at the airport.
"It's spec for the next 20 years of growth. That way when we get a larger-frame aircraft, if we get more airlines, if we get an industrial park out here, if we get something, we are ready for it and we have already established that good foundation," Bailey said.
Upcoming is plans to add a new fire truck to the fleet once this project is complete. The chief said he looks forward to a continual partnership with Florence County and city as the three work together to beef up safety at the airport.
"We are really coming along and what we are doing at the airport is building for growth, we are building for industry and for airlines," Bailey said.
That new AARF building is slated to take a year to complete.