The expanded aviation program has the potential to attract 200 more students to Butler Tech, though not all would be from Middletown, Graft said when asked by council. Butler Tech has 18,000 students in seventh through 12th grade who attend five campuses in Butler and Hamilton counties, he said.
Local companies have talked extensively about needing a skilled workforce and Graft thinks an aviation hangar “could be that space” where students are taught desirable trades. He said Butler Tech is collaborating with Middletown City Schools, Miami University, Cincinnati State and Sinclair Community College.
This week, representatives from Butler Tech are meeting with aviation and business leaders to determine appropriate curriculum so the students are hirable after they complete the program.
Graft said since 1996 the city of Middletown has made numerous improvements to the airport, including rotating beacon, perimeter fencing, pilot-controlled lighting, pavement upgrades and taxiway paving program.
That means the airport is “ripe of opportunity,” according to Graft, in his seventh year at Butler Tech.
He said the airport development has the chance to serve as an “economic catalyst” by attracting students and businesses.
Council member Tal Moon said while the city needs to consider all ARPA fund requests, he’d “love to see this work out.”
City Council is scheduled to have a public work session from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at Central Connections to discuss the city’s ARPA priorities.
BREAKDOWN OF POTENTIAL HANGAR FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Butler County Commissioners: $7 million
Butler Tech: $2 million
City of Middletown: $2 million
Ohio Site Investment Plan grant: $2 million
Total: $13 million
POSSIBLE TIMELINE FOR HANGAR PROJECT
January 2023: Ohio Site Investment Plan grant due
February 2023: Ohio Site Investment Plan grant awarded
March 2023: Roadway, utilities and site preparation complete
April/May 2023: Roadway design complete/site preparation begins
August/September 2023: Construction of roadway and utilities begins
March 2024: Site ready for end user
SOURCE: Butler Tech presentation to City Council