TxDOT Names Scholes International Airport Most Improved
Galveston’s International Airport Recognized for Post-Ike Improvements
Galveston, Texas – Galveston's Scholes International Airport was named the 2011 Most Improved General Aviation Airport by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The Island’s airport was recognized for its perseverance and resilience in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Airport Director Hud Hopkins received the award on behalf of the City at the 29th annual Texas Aviation Conference late last week.
On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike struck Galveston Island submerging the airport beneath a 12 foot storm surge. All airport facilities were severely damaged or completely destroyed with the exception of the air traffic control tower. Runways and taxiways withstood the storm and within four days the airport resumed operations welcoming the first of many relief planes.
Immediately after the storm, Scholes International Airport became the supply hub for the entire Gulf Coast. During recovery efforts, Scholes was the staging site for the State Emergency Operation Center, Texas Department of Public Safety, Red Cross and Salvation Army. More than 600 FEMA employees and 300 displaced residents were housed on airport grounds. All the while the airport operated continuously.
Nearly three years later operations are slowly returning to normal. Damaged hangars have been repaired and are almost filled to capacity. The terminal building received a $1.9 million renovation and celebrated its grand re-opening in April of this year.
Scholes Field was established in May 1932, with one, 3,000 foot runway consisting of a mixture of turf and oyster shells. In 1943, the Army Air Corps assumed control of the airport for military training and it is rumored that more than 25,000 military personnel were stationed on the airfield. The Army Air Corps expanded the runways and taxiways along with the tarmac to their present day configuration. After World War II, the U.S. Government returned the airport to the City of Galveston with ample land to accommodate the flying public along with a large, non-aviation area.