After almost two years of anticipation, the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport Fire Station will be having its official ribbon cutting on Nov. 1.

Evansville construction company ARC Construction began shifting the ground where the complete station stands on Nov. 11, 2017 and now, as the ceremony approaches, Daviess County Fire Department Chief Jeremy Smith, who oversaw much of the station's construction, looks on the new facility with pride, he said.

"I'm glad to see it finally come to completion," he said. "It has been a long process with some obstacles toward the end but we are happy to finally have it fully done. The Daviess Fiscal Court and (former airport director) Bob Whitmer and (airport director) Rob Barnett were instrumental is helping us get the station up and running."

While crews began operating out of the station on Apr. 22, an official ceremony was delayed for minor cosmetic and drainage issues, Smith said.

"The final obstacle involved a flooring issue that was the result of water coming in and standing on the floor, and some minor electrical," he said. "There is no telling how many hours I put in, but to finally see it completed shows all of that hard work wasn't in vain."

In all, the project cost roughly $5 million with 90% of those funds being provided by the Federal Aviation Administration and the remaining funds coming from the court. While the new station is certainly a boon to the ongoing modernization projects taking place at the airport, it has also served as a hub for fire departments around the region to come and take notes on the airport station's modernized training techniques as well as the station's design, Barnett said.

"We are very excited for the opportunity to have the new and modern facility," he said. "Working with Jeremy on the tail of that project has been enriching. He has done an amazing job in monitoring the process. When the community sees the modern amenities that they have, from quarters to training aids, they will be impressed. There is a lot of interest in that facility from different parts of the state coming in to take notes on what they are doing. It is being used as a model."

Overall, the station has already proven to be not only an important part of the county fire department but to that area of the county as well as the airport, Barnett said.

"It is a great multiuse station," he said. "These guys do a great job and they are aviation-minded. They are trained on every aspect of this airport .... God forbid we ever have an emergency situation here at the airport, but if we do, we will be prepared. It is a great project overall and a welcome addition to our airport. We are proud to have it."

The ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m. Nov. 1 at the station, at 2200 Airport Road.

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

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