Multi-million-dollar expansion underway at Southern Illinois Airport

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 5:59 PM CDT
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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (KFVS) - A multi-million-dollar expansion is underway at Southern Illinois Airport in Jackson County.

“We’re in the process of building about $25 million worth of new improvements out here. Six new buildings, two building expansions and all of that is designed to support increased employment in southern Illinois,” said Gary Shafer, Southern Illinois Airport manager.

Shafer said this is the second largest expansion project for airport in the last decade.

“Over the last 10 years, there’s been about $110 million spent at the airport. We’ve had two substantial growth periods. The first one was about 9 years ago and then we’ve had this period that we just gone through,” said Shafer.

Shafer said the money is privately funded or from grants.

The airport improvements will create 150 jobs within the next year.

Just a few of the new employers are Galaxy Aviation and Crucial Aviation.

Shafer said some of the Jobs available will include “a combination of aircraft mechanics, office staff, restaurant employees, additional employees for the medical marijuana cultivator on the field whose expanding. An awning company, fabric awning company that we have our here that’s expanding.”

St. Nicholas Brewing Company in Du Quioin is also setting up shop at the airport.

“We’re going to offer a brewery and a view of a brewery in our restaurant so a brew pub,” said Abby Ancell, general manager and co-owner.

Ancell said she’s thrilled to expand their brewing company.

“It’s been talked about and we’ve had it in the works for a couple years now, but I am super proud and excited to just be a part of this project,” said Ancell.

Ancell also said the Brew Pub will also offer a patio for families and individuals to sit outside to watch planes fly by as they enjoy a meal or beer.

She said the growth is community driven.

“I think that, that’s a common theme at the airport and all the businesses that are here and what they’re trying to do is just to try and really build out community and build tourism, and we’re going to be a really great destination place so just keep an eye out,” said Ancell.

Shafer said the SIU students at the airport are prime candidates for the jobs.

All while Shafer’s career is winding down.

“It’s a nice way for me to, to sort of sail off and knowing that good things are happening and continue to happen for this airport,” he said.

According to Shafer, the construction at the airport is expected to be completed by the end of October and new businesses will move in shortly after.

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