The Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education has officially launched a $450,000 fundraising effort to begin construction of a facility at Capital City Airport.
Tim Smith, a teacher at Frankfort High School and chief executive officer of the statewide nonprofit organization, showed the proposed site Friday to a group of educators, aviators, students and supporters.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has agreed to lease the space to the center for $1 a year, provided KIAE can raise the sum by Dec. 31. The facility will be privately funded.
Smith says his organization is ready to fundraise aggressively to meet the deadline. KIAE received its first $2,000 donation Friday from board member Gary Brock, director of aviation for Yum! Brands in Louisville.
Corporate sponsors and support from the aviation industry will be crucial, Smith said, along with in-kind donations from local construction and concrete companies, for example.
“We’re going to start meeting with folks to get this going,” he said after Friday’s kickoff.
“It’s going to take a lot of different types of support – we need a big donor, and it’s also going to take some medium level donors and grassroots donors.”
The 12,000-square-foot facility would serve as headquarters for the statewide institute, and a site for summer aviation camps and teacher training.
Fourteen school districts across Kentucky participate in the institute, which has supported aerospace education programs in schools the last three years. FHS with its 40 aviation students and eight airplanes serves as the model for the program, Smith said.
The entire project, which could include a library, classrooms, and flight simulators, is projected to cost $1.5 million.
Plans presented Friday show a two-story facility with a hangar, conference room, break room, library, offices, classrooms, storage, a flight simulator and labs.
The first phase will take about four months and include architectural and groundwork, construction of the building’s shell, installation of the heating and cooling system and insulation.
Smith said the organization would also gather permits and prepare for the second phase, which will take about two months.
In the meantime, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will work to extend the airport apron at a cost of about $300,000 for engineering work, Smith said.
Anyone interested in volunteering or donating money to the project may contact Smith at email@example.com or 502-320-9490.