History of the Auburn-Opelika Airport


In November of 1930 collection of funds began for the development of a modern Auburn-Opelika Airport. Two pieces of property were purchased which would provide runways one-half mile long. The civic clubs of Auburn and Opelika--Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, and the Commercial Club of Opelika -- sponsored the movement with Dr. Knapp and Lt. Finch the chief instigators. Auburn-Opelika Airport was begun as a stock company with stock initially at $50 per share. The Auburn University Civil Engineering Department also played a role in its construction by providing surveying and grading work was done by the county. By December 2, 1931 the field was graded and grass planted. The airport opened April 4, 1932.

In February, 1940, the metal hangar, designed by F. M. Orr and constructed with college labor under the supervision of Dan T. Jones, was completed. In 1949 this building was relocated from the new administration building's site to its present location as part of A. C. Samford's contract (an Albany, Georgia firm).

By August of 1941, a development project amounting to $268,000, used for clearing, grubbing, sodding and paving of two runways, taxi strips and installation of basic lighting, was authorized by C.A.A. The two runways measured 4,200 feet long and 150 feet wide. The contract was given October 31, 1941 to Noonan Construction Company and Smith Construction Company and construction began on November 3, 1941, to be completed within 90 days, with Professor Lowe in charge of surveying. In 1943, a frame classroom building designed by H.B.E. Hill and measuring 60 feet by 21 feet was constructed. This building is now used as a storage building. A concrete block hangar was also built in 1943 in order to house training planes for Naval Aviation Cadets. The hangar, measuring 80 feet by 100 feet, was designed by H. Hill of the Department of Buildings and Grounds and built by Auburn Ice and Coal Company at a cost of $9,659.37. In June of 1951, a pump house and water system were also added to the northwest corner of the hangar. The administration building for the airport was begun on March 17, 1949, and completed on June 2, 1950. This building was designed by Professor E. W. Barkhardt and built by A. C. Samford Construction Company out of Albany, Georgia, under the supervision of R. F. Farrell, Department of Buildings and Grounds. This building, a fire-resistant structure of contemporary style and two stories in height, cost $94,300.40.

Aerial view of airport