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Hays Regional Airport breaks ground on renovations

8/6/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

After four quiet months at Hays Regional Airport following Great Lakes Airlines' early departure, the terminal has been busy under its new carrier.

SkyWest Airlines' first flight at the airport took off Friday, and a groundbreaking ceremony was Tuesday to celebrate the facility's upcoming renovations. Approximately 60 community members and leaders attended the program.

The upgrades will be the airport's first significant improvements since it was built more than two decades ago, said I.D. Creech, Hays director of public works. An expanded secure waiting area, new bathrooms, replaced roof and fixed HVAC system are among the projects set to be finished in February.

The Hays City Commission allocated approximately $466,400 in cash to pay for the project, and the federal government will cover approximately $918,000.

Ron Mellick, Hays city commissioner, said the renovations will make the airport the "star of western Kansas." Paired with the airport's ongoing marketing campaign, he did not think it will be hard to win back travelers and reach new customers. Free parking and the convenience of traveling from Hays are the airport's other strengths, he said.

Anne Lang, Hays, was at the groundbreaking and said she has plans to travel from the airport.

"I think it will be a good asset for the community," Lang said. "It's a great service to be able to fly out of Hays. It's convenient, the price is good. It's great. I love it."