Museum Project Flies Forward

May 21, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Michigan Military Preservation Society has raised the required $500,000 in funding to take a giant leap forward in Phase 1 of its museum project.

As a result, after months of speculation and challenging obstacles, the Kent Intermediate School District (KISD) voted to approve the sublease agreement, which marks the first critical step in the three-step process to complete Phase 1.

“Thanks to the continued vision of the MMPS members, support of the (Kent County) Aeronautics Board and generous gifts from a handful of donors, I am pleased to announce that the MMPS has taken a giant step forward, with only two steps to go to complete Phase 1,” said Bill Harrison, executive director for the MMPS. “The MMPS has made good on its commitment and contractual obligation to the Aeronautics Board. We are now poised to break ground on Phase 1 yet this summer.”

KISD approved the sublease agreement with MMPS that provides for the construction of a KISD aviation mechanics hangar, a $1.5 million state-of-the-art educational facility for the KISD Aviation Mechanics program.

The MMPS is now expected to meet with the Aeronautics Board to gain final approval near the end of June. The last step of Phase 1 is the groundbreaking for the hangar, which could take place by the end of summer, Harrison said.

“The KISD Aviation Mechanics program has progressed significantly through its first year,” said Gerald Hunsburger, KISD’s associate superintendent for administrative services. “We are definitely looking forward to having this modern facility to meet the growing demand from students and families who are interested in learning aviation mechanics.”

As student participation increases, KISD hopes to offer an avionics program soon.

Last year the Aeronautics Board divided the entire MMPS project into two phases. The MMPS had one year to raise $2 million toward the building and operation of the Phase 1 KISD portion of the project, including $500,000 dedicated to build a public taxiway.           

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