Like a conductor of an orchestra, Darrin Bacon, airplane pilot, airplane instructor and manager of Rolla National Airport, is orchestrating numerous infrastructure projects that are transforming the look, feel and energy of the city’s 1,200-acre municipal airport.
Located about 13 miles north of Rolla off State Route 63 North and Highway 28 near the town of Vichy, Rolla National Airport, once a training base for World War II pilots, includes two runways over 5,500 feet long, a pilot’s lounge, several T-hangers and Barron Aviation.
It was once a relatively quiet national airport that served the general aviation needs of the Midwest. If you haven’t been out to the airport in the last few weeks, you might be astounded by the amount of earth moving, infrastructure improvements, and the sight of a very large sign announcing the future construction of a 25,000-square-foot building that will be home to a state-of-the-art high-tech manufacturing facility owned and operated by Brewer Science, Inc. The global company, which has its headquarters at Hy Point Industrial Park in Rolla, will add another 65 jobs when the new facility is running at full capacity.
To meet the growing needs of manufacturing facilities like Brewer Science Inc. that have selected the airport to expand their commercial enterprises and to accommodate future growth in manufacturing and economic development, the city has invested heavily in upgrading the infrastructure at the airport.
The Rolla City Council recently approved the construction of a 300,000-gallon water tank, all new sewer systems and stormwater retention facilities. At this particular time there are probably more dumptrucks, bulldozers and gravel trucks than there are aircraft due to the heavy demand the various projects have placed on the City’s Public Works Department and other contractors doing the infrastructure work.
In addition to the new construction site for the Brewer Science facility, the stormsewer upgrades, rock work and grading, Vance Brothers, based out of Kansas City, is busy applying 35,000 square yards of 3/8-micro surface to the airport’s apron where the various aircraft dock and refuel. The company, which specializes in the pavement and maintenance of airport runways, will also apply a seal coat to 65,000 square yards on runway 22-4. After the micro surfacing and seal coat is completed, the apron and runway will also be restriped – giving the airport a fresh, new look.
In addition, tie downs for the aircraft have been installed, and a two-inch overlay of the main entrance road off Highway 28 to Rolla National Airport will be paved. The airport’s gravel parking lot located next to the pilot’s lounge and runways, will also be paved with a two-inch asphalt overlay. The installation of street lighting along the airport’s entrance road is something I would also like to see sometime in the future to enhance not only safety and security but also increase the appearance and image of RNA.
Page 2 of 2 - All of the paving work and infrastructure work at the airport is being overseen by Jviation, Inc., an engineering firm that has offices in Jefferson City. Jviation was hired by the City of Rolla over two years ago to help plan, design, construct and administer all of the infrastructure and airport pavement maintenance upgrades necessary at Rolla National Airport. Jviation has completed national and international airport projects for over 20 years.
Jviation also has offices in Denver and Grand Junction, Colo.; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The transformation of Rolla National Airport from an aviation-based airport to one that offers opportunities for high-tech manufacturing and industrial expansion, began many years ago with the design of the RNA Master Plan.
It is most satisfying, and encouraging to see the growth and expansion of this critical asset for the region and to welcome the folks at Brewer Science, Inc. as they continue to expand and enhance the region’s prominence in high tech manufacturing and cutting-edge technology.
Have a safe weekend and a great week ahead!