‘Moving forward’: Destin air traffic control tower on pace for 2015 completion

Matt Algarin
This rendering shows what the proposed air traffic control tower in Destin is expected to look like once complete.

If all goes according to plan, the proposed air traffic control tower at Destin Airport will be complete by the fall of 2015.

“It’s been a long road, close to a decade we’ve been working on this,” said Tracy Stage, deputy director of Okaloosa County airports. “We’re here, the funding is in place and we are moving forward.”

The proposed five-story tower would be approximately 70 feet in height and would be located on the side of the runway, closest to the nearby woods. The proposed tower was accepted into the Federal Aviation Administration's contract tower program in 2012.

Both city leaders and county officials have clamored for an air traffic control tower in Destin due to the heavy aerial traffic that fills the city’s skies, whether its tourism helicopters, military aircraft, private planes, or parasail operators. Currently all air traffic is managed by Eglin Air Force Base.

The tower will have both city of Destin and Okaloosa County logos on the sides, as well as a catwalk around the actual tower. Crews will use site cast concrete panels, load-bearing masonry and steel cab framing to construct the tower, which will have a break room, equipment room, a manager’s office and a training and conference room.

“This tower is a very substantial structure,” said Randy Musser of RS&H, the contractor on the project. “The tower actually goes up very quickly … once the foundation goes in; actually in about a week’s time.”

Design work on the tower is expected to be completed by the end of May.