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Airport board moves forward with financing plan to renovate terminal

The governing body of Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport is moving forward with a plan that will renovate most of the airport terminal.

Members of the Lawton Metropolitan Area Airport Authority voted Tuesday to authorize the issuance of a $15 million revenue note. The funding from that note will be used to help fund construction of projects ranging from a completely new secured passenger holding area to a new front entrance, to be accomplished in a series of upgrades that will cost between $10 million and $12 million.

Airport officials have about $2 million identified for the project, and plan in coming years to continue their search for grants, and discretionary and supplemental funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), meaning officials don’t expect to have to use the full $15 million, said Jarrad Davidson, bond attorney for Public Law Group.

The airport authority hired Public Law Group, Oklahoma City, late last year to analyze funding ideas to pay for the terminal work. That entity crafted a plan for a revenue bond program, using private activity bonds to fund terminal construction (Will Rogers International Airport in Oklahoma City used the same technique, Davidson has said).

Lawton’s plan means issuing a series of revenue bonds, then using the airport’s annual allocation of federal funds to repay the debt. Davidson said Arvest Bank has agreed to act as the lead bank in the revenue bond program, meaning Public Law Group will be dealing with one bank rather than many different banks who may chose to participate in the program as bonds are issued each year.

Davidson said he wanted to emphasize “right out of the gate” that he doesn’t expect the airport authority to use all $15 million; that is the top end of the bond program.

The Lawton Constitution

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