WF Citizen’s Academy hits new heights

This is the second session of an eight-week course for the academy
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The Wichita Falls Citizen’s Academy was taken to new heights in their second class of the year.

This is just the second session out of a an eight-week course and no time is being wasted. Everyday, residents get a behind the scenes look into various city departments. It was all about planes and transportation on Tuesday.

“I’m retired from the Air Force and I have an interest in aviation obviously and in the airport and this is the first time I’ve been to the airport, " said Dawn Ferell, a student with the WF Citizen’s Academy.

The Wichita Falls Regional Airport was built in 2015 and for a municipal airport, it gets pretty busy.

“We have people from the base that are in the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program. We’ve got a big international influence with midwestern Caribbean students as well we got people flying all over the world,” said John Burrus, Director of Aviation, Traffic and Transportation.

During class on Tuesday, students learned that the airport can see 45,000 passengers a year, how a 4A Bond was used to construct the new terminal, and how the partnership with Sheppard Air Force Base helps to maintain the place where airplanes land and take off.

“They do a lot of our pavement work, we have full use of the facility so operationally we generate a profit. Now as far as debt service on the airport, I think the general funds the tax dollars, it’s about $148,000 a year go to the bond payment,” said Burrus.

Ferrell said her family has used the airport many times throughout her time living in Wichita Falls and it’s less travel time and hassles than bigger cities.

“You don’t have to drag your luggage around literally park 100 meters away and walk right into the terminal,” said Ferrell.

“That’s what I’m hoping to get out of this tonight is the opportunity to answer the questions and build relationship with people,” said Burrus.

“Maybe sitting on one of the boards or sitting on an area where the citizens can have a voice on what happens in the city,” said Ferrell.

Another thing that the students and myself learned is a final renovation to the airport’s aviation apron, where planes are parked, serviced, fueled. Burrus said that will be a $13 million project that won’t be in the works until several years live in.

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