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Pittsburgh aeronautics institute plans new building at Hagerstown airport

Institute will lease about 93,000 square feet of land for facility; construction could begin in Oct.

September 26, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • In this file photo, Bill Rippeon, left, an engine instructor at Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, talks with Josh House of Cumberland during a class at the Hagerstown campus. The Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics is planning to build a new facility at Hagerstown Regional Airport.
Herald-Mail file photo

The Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics is planning to build a new facility at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

On Wednesday, Gary Hoyle, PIA’s director of campus operations, said there will be a 99-year lease, the sign of a long-term commitment to this area.

Washington County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said during a county commissioners meeting Tuesday that the school is spending $2 million on the new building.

The institute will lease about 93,000 square feet of land at the airport for about $25,000 a year, Murray said.

Hoyle said he expects work to start in October, if permits are ready by then, and to take about six months. David Rider will be the contractor, Hoyle said.

The new building will be about 18,000 square feet on the airport property.

Currently, PIA is using about 15,000 square feet in a building at Top Flight Air Park, near the airport.

“We’re outgrowing our space,” Hoyle said.

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PIA plans to move from its current facility into the new facility.

If the institute decides to admit more students, it will have room to expand at the airport, Hoyle said.

He said there are about 60 students enrolled in three classes this year.

PIA’s website says the institute has programs in Washington County; West Mifflin, Pa.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Vienna, Ohio; Dunbar, W.Va.; and Clarksburg, W.Va.

PIA opened its Washington County campus in April 2011.

Students in the inaugural class received their Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant Certification at a ceremony at the airport in August.

At the time, the institute said this year’s graduating class had students from Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia, ranging in age from 18 to 53 years old.

Applicants for the next class came from those from four states, plus New Jersey, Delaware and Texas, the institute reported at the time.

The newest class started in August.

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