The facility, which was flooded by Hurricane Ike's storm surge and suffered major damage, received a $1.9 million renovation through grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation.
Galveston City Council Member Rusty Legg, who is an aviator and a member of the Scholes International Airport at Galveston Advisory Committee, agreed that it was a great day for Galveston.
“It’s a great day for me and a great day for every one of us here,” he said. “All of us are very aware of what happened September 2008 when the entire airport was devastated.”
“I want to tell you why this airport is so successful,” said Dave Fulton, director of the TxDOT Aviation Division. “It’s not because of TxDOT or FAA or anybody else. It’s because of the unwavering support this city has always had for this airport.”
Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski took what he called a “wholesale” view of the entire airport complex, pointing at the surrounding attractions.
“You look at the Lone Star Flight Museum, which has put volunteers on the ground to take itself back to its former glory; you look at these beautiful vintage war birds flying around our skies; you look at the Moody Gardens improvements; the Schlitterbahn improvements; just in my line of sight at this very moment,” Jaworski said. “And now this beautiful Art Deco building that I think is going to be the most beautiful airport in a small urban community in America.”
Before the ribbon cutting ceremony, Airport Director Hud Hopkins asked Father Paul Wehner of Grace Episcopal Church to bless the facility.
“We can choose to count our blessings or we can choose to complain about where we are,” Father Wehner said. “Counting our blessings is always going to put us on the better side of things.”
The United States Marine Corps Honor Guard presented the colors at the ceremony and Yolanda Boyd from the Ball High Choir sang the National Anthem.
Following the ribbon cutting, guests attended a reception inside the terminal and were able to tour the completely renovated building. Galveston Gal, a fully restored P-51 aircraft, and other war birds from the Lone Star Flight Museum were also at the celebration!
“The 18,000 square foot facility serves the flying public as well as fixed based operators including helicopter companies that service the offshore industry,” said a news release. “Design firm PGAL and local contractor Sullivan Land Service completely renovated the building, grounds, and enhanced the facility’s ADA accessibility.”