Commissioners Break Ground on Forsyth Tech Aviation Lab

Forsyth County commissioners helped break ground on Forsyth Technical Community College’s new aviation lab at Smith Reynolds Airport on Wednesday.

Todd Luck · 7/25/2019

Forsyth County commissioners helped break ground on Forsyth Technical Community College’s new aviation lab at Smith Reynolds Airport on Wednesday.

Located at 2739 Aviation Drive, the Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab will be a two-story, 53,000 square foot building. At a cost of approximately $16 million, it will have a 12,000 square foot airframe lab that can house up to eight aircraft along with classrooms and components labs that include sheet metal, composite structures like fiberglass and carbon fiber, avionics/electrical, paint, aircraft welding and piston/turbine engines. Students will be able to earn associate degrees in two programs of study: Aviation Systems Technology and Aviation Electronics (Avionics). The facility is expected to be complete by Fall 2020.

Amid a backdrop of shovels and blue Forsyth Tech construction hats, County Commissioner Chair Dave Plyler said this was a very positive occasion for the county. “All these blue hats behind us and all the shovels behind us represent what we’re going to have, which is a facility that will work to teach and help the coming generations in this county,” said Plyler.

The lab is named after the late Mazie Woodruff who became the first African-American elected as a Forsyth County commissioner in 1976. She served for 14 years and was known for her dedication to education and social justice. Forsyth Tech’s Mazie Woodruff Center, located on Lansing Drive, is also named in her honor.

“All of us at Forsyth Tech share her passion for public service and access to high quality public education for everyone,” Forsyth Tech President Janet Spriggs told attendees, who included many members of Woodruff’s family. The lab is the latest addition to the county-owned Smith Reynolds Airport, a general aviation airport used for corporate and recreational aviation that has commercial tenants who provide services like flight training and Maintenance Overhaul and Repair (MRO) on large passenger aircraft.

Airport Board Chair Scott Piper said the school will provide the skilled workforce needed by aerospace companies at Smith Reynolds Airport and around the state.

“I am extremely excited about the potential for aviation and future opportunities provided by this new Forsyth Tech Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Lab, which will provide the education and training to students to fill the growing need for jobs and help move aviation forward in this community, in the Triad, and in the state,” said Piper.

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