Airport plans need more than architects, engineers and other aviation specialists- words matter

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Airport plans need great engineers, architects, planners and more

Communicating changes to Citizens is CRITICAL

These two airports are good examples

Two airports of different size, purpose and communities. Both the Ohio State University Airport and the Eugene Airport are considering changes to their layouts. Anytime that an airport makes a significant move, it can engender apprehension within the community. These two presentations are examples of how sensitivity to word choice and approach can advance their causes.

Ohio State University Airport: Two runways affected by updated master plan

The Ohio State University Airport is planning major revisions to its master plant. The changes being proposed included:

Good news: eliminating one runway;

Bad News: they plan to lengthen an existing one for more traffic, particularly jets.

MORE Good news: they opted not to extend runways which had residences in their flight paths

These are messages which may create immediate opposition to the proposed plan.

“This is your airport, as much as it is Ohio State’s airport and Ohio’s airport,” Horack said. “Let’s make this a dialogue.”

“Regarding the development of a plan to guise growth and development of the Ohio State University Airport through 2037, John M. Horack, an Ohio State professor, said it was important for airport officials to listen to residents as it was for residents to hear what’s being planned. “

It is premature to predict the outcome of this dialogue, but it appears that the tone of the comments and the obvious receptive attitude of the presenters may help advance this proposal.


New Master Plan Provides Holistic Vision for Eugene Airport

The Eugene Airport is engaged in a long term look of its development. Again the presentation was made in terms that were clearly solicitous of the public’s input, witness this quote:

The new master plan, prepared by RS&H, has not only created that vision, but also given guideposts to help the airport move forward for years to come. This 22-month effort analyzed, justified, and phased significant facility improvements in order to accommodate the growth expected in Eugene.

“What we received from RS&H far exceeds master plans we’ve had in the past,” said Eugene Airport Assistant Director Cathryn Stephens, AAE. “It’s a relevant tool we can use for years and years. It won’t be collecting dust on a shelf.”

The planning process allowed the RS&H team and airport staff to craft a sustainable picture of development that meets the current challenges without sacrificing future needs. The result is an ambitious and sustainable airport development plan, which provides airport facilities worthy of Western Oregon communities that rely on the access and the opportunities provided by the airport.

Engineers and architect are good at their professions. In communicating with the public, the choice of a great wordsmith and able communicator is likely to result in community support.















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