As BGSU aviation program reaches new heights, trustees approve expanding flight center’s footprint


BG Independent News

The aviation program at Bowling Green State University is flying high.

Friday Board of Trustees voted to double the size of the property the university leases to North Star Aviation, the firm that provides flight training for BGSU aviation students.

That property will be used to build a hanger to house the additional four planes that will be purchased to serve the growing student body. The Bowling Green Flight Center will also expanded, including room for a new jet flight simulator.

“We always hoped we would need this action, but we didn’t expect it to come so soon,” Sherideen Stoll, the university’s chief financial officer, told the trustees.

In fall, 2014, 70 students were enrolled in Flight Technology and Operations. That program now has 194 students.

The original lease for the center, which opened spring, 2015, was for four acres. The new lease expands that to 8.2 acres.

Groundbreaking on the hanger will be able to start immediately. The flight center expansion is still in the planning stages.

The trustees also approved new fees that will be charged as the center moves toward training on multi-engine planes.

Stoll indicated that further expansion will occur off-site. The air space can only be used for a limited number of flights, and the Wood County Airport is approaching that limit.

In another public-private partnership, the trustees approved a joint use agreement between BGSU and Cedar Fair, the company that owns Cedar Point, related to the construction of an academic building in Sandusky to support the university’s new degree in resort and attraction management.

The state is providing $800,000 for the academic building for what’s expected to be 200 majors once the program is launched. The building will provided living space, classrooms, conference spaces, and offices.

The degree-completion program will be open to employees of other companies, beside Cedar Fair.

Students can take the first two years of the program on the Firelands campus.

The trustees also approved to other joint use agreements related to funds provided in the state’s capital budget and administered by the university. The university receives 1.5 percent for its role in the funding.

The trustees approved an agreement with the Wood County Committee on Aging for the planned senior center. The cost of constructing the center in the 100 block of South Grove Street will be $4 million with the state providing $1.6 million.

“This resolution is to complete joint use agreement so the project can access this portion of the funds that have been appropriated by the state,” Stoll said.

University students, especially through the Optimal Aging Institute, gain experience by providing programming and outreach at the center.

Education students will gain experience through services provided to preschoolers through high school seniors at the expanded community center at Perrysburg Heights. That project received $450,000 from the state.