John Bell Williams Airport Opens New Terminal
Courtesy of Hinds Community College – John Bell Williams Airport
Hinds Community College has opened a new terminal building at John Bell Williams Airport to accommodate pilots and passengers to the facility in Bolton, MS.
The new $1.45 million terminal was built with multimodal grant funds from the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and includes a pilot’s lounge, a conference room, a kitchen, a grand lobby for passenger comfort and office space.
“I want to thank our community partners because this really is a community project. This is to support economic and community development,” Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 28.
The new facility replaces the previous terminal that had been in use since 1952. The airport itself has existed since 1942, when it first operated as a training facility for Dutch pilots flying B-25 aircraft during World War II. The facility was then turned over to Hinds County, which in turn gave the airport to the college after naming it for 1936 Hinds alumnus John Bell Williams.
“We’ve had the infrastructure, like the runway, taxiway and concrete that you see out here,” Airport Manager Michelle Jackson said at the April ceremony. “But we lacked a facility like this to really attract the corporate clients we want to help build the economics of this area.”
The conduit for administering the funds on the state level for such projects is the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Office of Intermodal Planning, often referred to as the multimodal program.
“The multimodal program is very good for things like airports, ports and the rail system,” Central District MDOT Commissioner Willie Simmons said during his remarks. “It’s something we want to continue to do so that this airport can continue doing the things it’s doing with Hinds Community College, which is doing a great job in training individuals for the future.”
The airport is a training ground for the college’s aviation-related programs of study, which train for careers as pilots and in aircraft maintenance.
The facility has a 5,500 foot long, 100 foot wide runway, with a full length parallel taxiway. Navigation aids include a localizer and Glide Slope Antenna, part of an Instrument Landing System approach that allows all-weather access for aircraft, as well as an area navigation system that uses GPS.