You know a new facility is close to launching when you go ahead and schedule a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Such festivities happened Aug. 7 at the new Enid Woodring Regional Airport terminal, where dozens were invited to tour the nearly finished facility. Among the crowd were Enid Mayor George Pankonin, city commissioners, representatives from Vance Air Force Base and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe.

Since the aging, old terminal building was built in the 1970s, it’s endured electrical and plumbing problems and a leaking roof. It’s obviously the time for an upgrade.

Rather than keep the old terminal, the plan is to auction off everything inside, and hand it over for demolition in September.

The $2.7 million project will replace the old terminal constructed in 1978.

The public will be eager to see the two wings — one for business and one for dining — separated by a lobby decorated with model planes hanging from the ceiling, frozen in flight. Bathrooms, conference and meeting spaces, pilot’s lounge, a sleeping room, and a joint use planning room make up the business wing.

Airport Director Dan Ohnesorge estimates it should take another three weeks to finish the dining section, which comes equipped with a restaurant, kitchen, walk-in freezer, dining tables and seating, all set before a wall of windows, giving hungry travelers a view of the airport’s south side.

A generous gift from World War II veteran and prisoner of war M.L. Becker got the ball rolling on construction of the new terminal project at Woodring.

Becker, who was raised in Meno and Enid, donated $500,000 earmarked for construction of a new terminal when he died at age 94. With his generosity serving as a catalyst, the new terminal will dramatically change the face of our airport.

The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission awarded grant funds and the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Committee also chipped in funding.

Vance Air Force Base gets a lot of use out of the facility, referring to Woodring as the base’s “fourth runway.”

It’s an effort by the state and community, working together to increase mission capability and reduce costs to Vance. And it assists the Air Force greatly in ramping up pilot training at Vance. We’re excited for the public to see this new facility serve our community.

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