Beginning this fall, the Rufus Barnett Building at the Alabama Aviation College, a unit of Enterprise State Community College, will see renovations to learning spaces and other areas to meet the training needs of its students.
“Due to workforce shortages and high salaries, there has been a lot of excitement in the aviation industry in recent years that has transferred to the Alabama Aviation College,” AAC Director Stan Smith said. “I’m thrilled to give our students the best facilities we can afford. The Rufus Barnett building was built in 1967, and it’s time to modernize it to meet growing demands in the aviation industry.”
Barnett houses AAC’s Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) classes, other learning spaces and offices, and a second hangar. After renovations, the building will have a new lobby, testing rooms, classrooms, offices and bathrooms. The building will also have a new engine overhaul lab and storage area that can also be used as a classroom.
AAC Instructor Jerry Northway, who teaches Airframe & Powerplant classes in Barnett Building, called the renovation project a “super makeover.”
“I am excited to be able to teach in a completely modernized facility that will include a point of use tool system, electronic manuals, electronic torque wrenches and electronic measuring tools,” Northway said. “The building will be completely revised from the ground up with expanded classroom sizes and lab facilities.”
Exterior work will also be included in the renovation project. After renovations are complete, the building will have new exterior windows, doors and signs. Regrading will occur and new drainage will be installed around the building. Paving work will also be completed around Barnett, which will have a new transformer, power and electrical service.
Additionally, a new fence will be added between Barnett and AAC’s Brown Building, and the canopy over the connector sidewalk between the two buildings will be removed.
Work on the project is planned to begin on August 1. ESCC and AAC administration are currently developing a relocation plan for classes held in the building. The project is expected to be completed by Summer 2021.
“Our goal is to provide the best hands-on training and learning environment to our students,” ESCC President Matt Rodgers said. “These improvements will make sure that we continue to meet the needs of our students and an ever-changing workforce.”
Funds for the project come from the $3.5 million state grant from Gov. Kay Ivey announced in 2018. The funds are part of the Alabama Capital Improvement Trust Fund, which awards funds for projects that promote economic development and industrial recruitment in the state.