An aviation maintenance technology facility at Winchester Municipal Airport is progressing with its building expected to be completed in mid-July.
Airport Manager Zachary Colescott updated the Winchester City Council on April 13 about the project’s progress and said the aviation facility should be able to accommodate students in about a year.
The project is an extension of Franklin County’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology, located on Dinah Shore Boulevard in Winchester. It is being funded by a $2 million Tennessee Economic and Community Development grant.
Colescott said earthwork on the project has been ongoing since Oct. 19, 2020, and involves the entrance, access road, building pad and parking lot.
He added that concrete footers have been poured for the building, and the pad has been poured.
He said a stop-work order, requested by the contractor due to a dispute over pricing, has slightly delayed the building project, but the completion date is expected to be July 15.
Colescott said that the building project has resulted in a large topsoil surplus at the airport’s northwest corner.
He added that it’s more than the airport can accommodate and would like to get rid of it.
Anyone wishing to get topsoil may call the Winchester Airport Authority at 931-967-3148.
Colescott said stakeholder meetings have begun between TCAT and local and regional employers to work out logistical issues toward establishing the aviation maintenance technology program.
He said plans were to have the facility up and running by the end of this year.
However, he added that the time frame is expected to extend into the spring of 2022 because it may take a few additional months to get full Federal Aviation Administration approval.
“There’s no real roadblock other than that,” he said.
Laura Monks, president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Shelbyville, which is the parent entity involved in the Franklin County project, said recently that its the first time in a decade that TCAT has added such a beneficial new technological program to its curriculum.
She said TCAT campuses in Memphis, Nashville and Morristown offer avionics maintenance technology courses, but there was nothing offered for potential students in Southern Middle Tennessee.
Monks said the program being offered in Winchester will fill a void and better serve aviation industries in a corridor that expands from Huntsville to the Arnold Engineering Development Complex to Oak Ridge.
She added that aviation industries are being developed in the immediate surrounding area, creating job opportunities for students who will graduate from the program.
“It’s great to be able to offer something that will greatly benefit students in the area,” Monks said, adding that, at present, any Franklin Country residents interested in careers in aviation technology have to make the trek to Nashville to study in the field.
Colescott had said local high school students are discovering that they don’t have to pursue four-year college degrees to have careers that lead to higher-paying jobs.
He had said the aviation maintenance technology program will be a great benefit to the local students who venture into the high-tech field.
He said the facility is expected to total about 22,000 square feet.
The aviation maintenance technology program offered through the TCAT system prepares students to inspect, repair, service, and overhaul airframe and power plant systems.
Students also receive training in the electrical and electronics area of the aviation industry.
The program offers specialized classroom instruction and practical hands-on experience in the field of aviation, airframe, and power plant maintenance.
Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the Federal Aviation Administration Certification Exam to become licensed airframe and power plant mechanics who diagnose, adjust, repair and overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
The educational field includes helicopter and aircraft engine specialists.