BROOKINGS – The Brookings Regional Airport is an increasingly busy place as it expands, and the latest sign of growth at the local airport is a hangar that’s being built.
Local business United Development owns the building. It is being built by United Builders, which is owned by United Development.
No city funds are being used to construct this privately-owned hangar – this new hangar is one of the largest at the airport, excluding ones owned by South Dakota State University.
Work began on the building around mid-May. At the moment, the outside of the hangar is basically complete, leaving crews to work on the interior of the building. It’s estimated that it will take until mid-August for that work to conclude as well.
Measuring 120 feet by 80 feet, it has two stories – a rather unique feature among hangars, according to Brookings Regional Airport Manager Matt Sommerfeld. In addition to space for storing as many as three airplanes, office space is being added, not only for United Development, but for other businesses as well.
The three rooms they’ll use there will be a nice expansion to United Development’s business, currently located at the university’s Innovation Center. According to operations manager Dan Finke, they’ll continue to use space at the Innovation Center.
The other businesses that will make use of the new space for their own planes are Wilde Air Service and a local farmer.
Although United Development declined to provide a project cost, Sommerfeld said the new hangar is a good sign for the local airport.
“SDSU, they have their hangars jam-packed right now. They added two aircraft to their fleet since I’ve been here – less than a year. Their hangar is full now. We have hangar space available for individuals who want to build hangars, but as far as anyone who wants to rent space, that was a little tough here, but this hangar is really going to help with our congestion,” Sommerfeld said.
To go along with the new building, some additional airway infrastructure is also necessary. An additional taxiway was added, some fences will have to be redone and a parking lot will be added outside of the hangar, too.
Thanks to continuing work at the airport, a lot of the features there are quite new.
“We had a realignment project here two years ago, so pretty much everything on the airfield other than the general aviation ramp is only 3, 4 years old. The general aviation ramp next year, in 2019 and 2020 is going to get reconstructed, too, so we’re pretty much sitting on a brand new airport here,” Sommerfeld said.
He’s also pleased that aviation is going strong in Brookings, particularly at SDSU – as mentioned, it’s added two planes to its fleet.
“The pilot shortage is hurting some airports and some operations and schools. But SDSU, their numbers are increasing, which make our numbers look better. To see hangars be built at an airport – because aviation is an expensive endeavor – to see more structures get built is tremendous for an airport when you see these smaller general aviation airports that lose some of the pilots over time,” Sommerfeld said. “It’s nice to see Brookings kind of exploding in recent years, as far as pilots, SDSU increasing their activity, especially their fleet size and to see more structures get built.”
Contact Eric Sandbulte at [email protected].
Above, work is continuing on this new hangar at the Brookings Regional Airport, shown in late July.
Below, the new hangar at the Brookings Regional Airport seen from the south side, looking north.