Stennis Airport receives $2.2M RESTORE grant

By Jace Ponder, Communications Director
Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission

Rendering of the Stennis International Airport tech park

Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission received $2.2 million in RESTORE Act funds for a technology park at Stennis International Airport. The 40-acre technology park will consist of multiple buildings built in phases. The funding, which stems from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon settlement, will go toward the first phase of the technology park.

Phase 1 includes construction of a building to house the Department of the Army’s Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX), which has outgrown its existing incubator space at the airport.

“JALBTCX has been a great aerospace partner,” says Bill Cotter, Hancock County Port and Harbor (HCPHC) CEO. “The incubator space served its purpose, giving them room to grow. Now they need more space and their own building.”

Planning for the technology park began in 2017 when HCPHC developed the Aviation and Aerospace Optimization Plan with a goal to become the cornerstone of Mississippi’s aerospace industry.

In 2019, HCPHC began site development surveys and identified a 40-acre parcel south of the water tower to locate a high-performance technology park. The technology park will accommodate building needs for existing airport tenants, while creating room for future growth in the aerospace technology cluster.

In 2020, Unabridged Architecture created an award-winning masterplan for the park. All site development surveys, wetlands delineation and environment permits are scheduled to be completed by end of 2021.

During Phase 1, a 10,600 square foot building will be constructed. The project is expected to begin next summer.

Cotter said the technology park is another example of the aviation optimization plan at work. Other capital investments include concrete apron expansion projects and 34,000 square feet of new hangars.

“We are working a long-term vision to ensure Hancock County’s community airport remains a premiere destination for general aviation and military and industry partners,” Cotter says. “We appreciate the continued support of Governor Reeves, the Gulf Coast Advisory Committee and our Hancock County delegation for making the project possible.”