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Marshall expands aviation enterprise with plans for a second hangar and helicopter program

Next step for cybersecurity institute construction also approved
The Marshall University Board of Governors today gave approval to build a new multimillion-dollar aviation hangar at the Bill Noe Flight School in Charleston, as well as the purchase of a rotorcraft (helicopter) to begin a third academic training course of study. *

According to Marshall’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, H. Toney Stroud, the cost of the new facility is not expected to exceed $15 million. Anticipated funding for the project is expected to be announced soon.

“The current hangar houses seven airplanes and when the eighth aircraft arrives later this fall, the hangar will be at capacity,” Stroud said. “The second hangar will allow for additional planes including helicopters. Our flight programs have exceeded all expectations with the pilot program at 140% of initial estimates for enrollment.”

Stroud said approval for the purchase of the helicopter will allow the university to become the only school in the region with a training program for helicopter pilots. The aircraft will be purchased from Airbus for $1.5 million and will be paid for with private funding.

In other action, the board moved forward with official approval to begin construction of the new Marshall University Institute for Cybersecurity at the corner of Fourth Avenue and 16th Street. The new facility will feature four floors and 90,000 square feet. The ground floor will include retail space, the second and third floors will be dedicated to academic learning areas, and the fourth floor will be leased to industry partners.

In his report to the board, President Brad D. Smith described the excitement in the air across the university and the community, ranging from student creativity to alumni engagement,  academic advancement and athletic excellence. Reiterating his Marshall For All, Marshall Forever road map that focuses on five areas including increased access for students, Smith noted that the university has seen a 4.5% overall growth in enrollment this fall with an increase of 13.7% in first-time freshmen.

“The second priority is ensuring affordability,” Smith said. “This is anchored in our enduring financial principle that we will grow students and not fees. We made a choice to reduce our metro tuition and expand the area leading to a 20% year-over-year increase in metro students. We also launched our first cohort of Marshall For All students with the promise that they will graduate with no student loan debt.”

Smith referenced an uptick in student retention, significant double-digit growth in online students and enabling lifetime achievement through increased alumni engagement, among other opportunities.

Officials say the growth in student enrollment, coupled with a Serve to Save initiative and other plans to reduce campus spending, has led to a decrease in the university’s structural deficit from a forecasted $28 million to $22 million.

Smith said while there is still heavy lifting ahead, all early indicators are that the plan to stabilize the university’s financial situation is working. He also touted the university’s innovative marketing strategy aimed at telling Marshall’s story as a opportunity to share to an even larger audience, including an international one.

Athletic Director Christian Spears shared information on multiple initiatives including opening weekend for the new baseball stadium set for March 1-3, 2024.

*“The Professional Pilot and Aviation Maintenance Technology programs are not eligible for Veterans Affairs benefits at this time.

Media Contacts

Leah Payne
University Marketing and Communications