Airport Improvement Projects

Airport Improvement Projects

Morehead Rowan County Airport Board

Morehead, KY (KSYM)


The Morehead Rowan County Airport Board continues to work with federal, state, and local governments to maintain and upgrade the airport to the highest standard. Garver, a multidiscipline engineering, planning and environmental services firm with a nationwide footprint, is now in its seventh year as the Board’s aviation engineering partner for all airport projects.  The Morehead-Rowan County Clyde A. Thomas Regional Airport (KSYM), now almost 15 years old, serves many types of general aviation such as, medivac, business, military, training and recreational.

We have been fortunate to have the federal, state and local (county and city) governments financial support to properly maintain a state-of-the-art complex.  Recent capital projects have netted an investment of nearly 5 million dollars to enhance the safety and the long-term infrastructure of the airport.

Major projects recently undertaken include a complete fuel system restoration, a renovation of the 5,500 foot runway and the replacement of the runway and taxiway lighting system.  Federal (FAA) funds and state funds through the Kentucky Department of Aviation (KDA) are our primary funding partners.  The City and County provide funding to meet matching of Federal Airport Improvement Grants – usually five (5) per cent and meet other operational needs.

The fuel system renovation involved replacing worn components, and updating others such as a cellular credit card “Pay at the pump” system for both JET and general aviation (100 low lead) aircraft.  The project included the interior cleaning of the tanks, repainting of the exterior and new placards.

The runway renovation repaired a section that was damaged by drainage issues and concluded with a full width and length repaving and striping.  This is not like paving a road, as the asphalt has to be a special mix that will hold up to the rigorous use from different types of aircraft. The striping was completed with a reflective paint that helps pilots during night landings.

The airfield lighting project corrected chronic issues with the initial installation.  Garver and the FAA’s research showed that a complete makeover of the lighting system utilizing new LED technology would net the best long-term safety.

The Morehead-Rowan County Airport Board is a 10-member volunteer board appointed by the Rowan County Fiscal Court and the City of Morehead.  The Board and Garver work with the FAA and KDA to make these projects possible.  All capital projects meet FAA standards, are competitively bid and completed in a manner that is least disruptive to our airport patrons.

We are looking ahead to the future and working to support a greater level of business aviation to KSYM.  A new apron area on the north end of the airport estimated to cost $1.6 million is being planned to serve additional corporate aircraft as the community continues its aggressive economic expansion.  As needs are identified, more capital projects will be undertaken as we intend to be the #1 general aviation airport in the east.

Aaron Roberts, Member

Morehead-Rowan County Airport Board

October 25, 2022