With Tom B. David Airport proving to be more and more of an attractive destination for the state’s aviation community, plans are in place for the addition of 18 more T-hangars at the airport off U.S. 41.

Airport Manager Dwight Albritton said the total project cost for the additional hangars is approximately $3 million.

“They will cash flow themselves,” he said, adding that the airport, which is jointly funded half and half by the city and county, will pay for the project through revenue generated from rental fees on the hangers.

Due to heavy rain over the past several months, Albritton said construction has been set back. However, if crews can break ground and have suitable weather, the hangars could be constructed in about three months.

“I wish I knew,” he said recently about when construction would begin. “When it’s dry enough to drive a truck or a dozer out there without it sinking. I dream in the latter half of April or May they could get started.”

Each of the 18 hangars will be 44 feet wide and 36 feet deep, Albritton said, and they will run along U.S. 41 in two rows. The hangars will be similar in design to the 54 T-hangars already at the airport, he added.

With 30 people on a waiting list to house their planes at the airport, Albritton said the new hangars will help to cut that down. But even with them, expansion continues to be in the forecast.

“We just have a nice facility that people enjoy being at,” he said, adding that reasonable fuel and rental costs coupled with a strong sense of community help in attracting traffic and tenants. “We do our best to make it a welcoming place.”

Albritton said the airport is attractive to pilots out of Metro Atlanta, which has full and busy airports. People will bring their plane to Calhoun to avoid that congestion, without having their plane being stored too far away.

Over the coming years, the airport is looking to add four large, corporate-style hangars.

“We don’t have anything that would be considered a large hangar,” Albritton said.

With “good” prospects for finding corporate tenants for the large hangars, Albritton is confident the project will come along sooner rather than later. But before any plans are set in place, he wants firm commitments from tenants, to ensure the expansion will pay for itself.

Initial thoughts are to build two different size hangars — 100-by-120 foot and 80-by-80 foot. They may start off with constructing two large hangars to start, and then look at adding more later. To add them, the airport ramp near the terminal building will have to be expanded and the hangars would be built between the terminal and U.S. 41.

“Those larger hangars bring more employment, and airplanes bring a lot of ad valorem tax money when based here,” Albritton said, adding that big jets burn a lot of fuel.

The continued expansion of the airport indicates the growth across the county, Albritton said, with it playing an integral role in the recruitment and development of industry and business.