Apr. 21--Executives at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology are proposing to sell the aviation training school's 14.3-acre North campus at Tulsa International Airport for $6.4 million.
The property is listed by Trammell Crow Co., the Dallas-based international commercial real estate firm, and one of the potential buyers is the Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust, said Airports Director Jeff Mulder.
"We're interested," Mulder said. "It's 14 acres immediately adjacent to the (passenger) terminal building that could be used for rental cars, parking or aircraft hangars. We would have to take it to the (TAIT) board for approval. We still have to find the money."
Spartan President and CEO Brent Mills said the sale of the North cam pus is part of the school's master development plan, which proposes to consolidate maintenance hangars, shops, classes and offices at Spartan's campus at 8820 E. Pine St. Spartan also operates a 40,000-square-foot flight school at Jones Riverside Airport at Jenks.
"We have 310,000 square feet under roof on the three campuses," Mills said. "We need hangar space but not as much as we have on the North campus. It's older space, buildings built in the 1930s and 1940s that require upkeep, and we hope not to have as much open space that we have to heat at $72 per barrel of oil."
Spartan's North campus at 7304 E. Apache St. includes nine buildings with 180,000 square feet under roof. High bay maintenance hangar space accounts for 130,000 square feet of the total.
"The facility originally was designed for maintenance, repair and overhaul -- not for a school," Mills said. "There are more efficient, better designed spaces" for aviation training, he said.
The property, just west of the airport's passenger terminal, has been part of Spartan's manufacturing, repair and training facilities since Tulsa oilman W.G. Skelly built an aircraft factory on it in 1928.
Spartan Aircraft Co. built a series of biplanes, monoplanes, trainers and corporate aircraft throughout the 1930s and up until World War II. During the war and afterwards, the facilities were used for training pilots and mechanics for the United States and its allies.
"It's property that could be developed into hangars," said Tanda Francis, who is managing the sale for Trammell Crow. "It's one of the few remaining privately owned pieces of land at the airport with runway access.
"It could be an overnight courier headquarters or an aircraft maintenance operation. Spartan will stay there for a year while they relocate and combine their business over by their other (Pine Street) facilities."
In recent years, Spartan financed construction of 318 student apartments at its 90,000-square-foot Pine Street campus.
If the North campus is sold, Spartan will build another 318 apartment units and an additional 90,000 square feet of classrooms, laboratories and maintenance bays at the Pine Street campus on land the school has leased from TAIT, Mills said. Construction costs are estimated at $3 million to $5 million, he said.
"The idea is to have a true campus environment where students can walk to classes instead of driving," Mills said.
"We want to begin construction as soon as possible. We're in discussions with a number of individuals about that process. We wouldn't expect anything to happen this calendar year."
D.R. Stewart 581-8451
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