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The Hillsdale Municipal Airport is gearing up for con­struction.
Thomas Novelly |Col­legian

Hillsdale Municipal Airport will begin con­struction on the second phase of a par­allel taxiway in July.

“These projects have been on the books for probably 15 years,” Ginger Moore, the airport’s manager, said.

The con­struction of a taxiway running par­allel to the existing east-west runway is a three-phase project that will be funded through a grant from the Federal Avi­ation Administration.

The avi­ation business in Hillsdale has increased over the years. On a day with good weather, Hillsdale’s airport can see any­where between six and ten single-engine, private air­craft, and one or two jets using the facil­ities per day, Moore said.

“When the airport was built in 1963, it was mostly just single-engine air­planes with people who own their own little air­planes and flew for fun,” Moore said. “Over the years, business avi­ation has found that it’s a good way of travel, where you don’t have to worry about schedules and dif­ferent things.”

The airport has also begun to see more business from donors at Hillsdale College who are unwilling to fly into Detroit. The increase in business has meant that cre­ating a modern airport is a necessity, Moore said.

“It’s dan­gerous to be taxiing out on the runway if an air­plane were to come in, and they’ve only got one runway,” Moore said. “The taxiways are just to keep the people that are on the ground off the active runway.”

The first phase of the taxiway project was a partial taxiway con­structed two years ago which runs from the ter­minal to the west end of the runway.

Since the runway can be used in either direction, depending on the direction the wind is blowing, the airport is extending a second partial taxiway to the east end in the second phase of the project.

 “The way it is now, the plane’s gotta back taxi out to the east end,” Scott Curry, the airport’s line manager, said.

The third phase will be con­necting the two taxiways and moving the airport ter­minal to a con­crete pad which was built two years ago. As of yet, the airport does not have a date to begin the third phase of the project.

“Now you know I’m talking with the FAA asking, ‘Hey you have any more money because I would love to put a new ter­minal over there,” Moore said. “So we’ll keep our fingers crossed, but we don’t know when the next project will be after the one in July.”