AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – Construction will soon take place on a new education facility at the Auburn University Regional Airport.

The construction will create additional space for instruction and training for the university’s aviation programs, the Opelika-Auburn News ( reported. The Auburn University Board of Trustees approved the Airport Aviation Education Facility at a recent meeting.

Construction is expected to begin in May and finish by July 2018. The $8.7 million project will be funded through a combination of state, gifts and university general funds, according to board documents.

The board also approved moving the university’s two undergraduate aviation degrees, Aviation Management and Professional Flight, from the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business to the University College.

Bill Hutto, an airport aviation center director, said the 23,000-square-foot building will have two floors with classrooms, a flight-simulator laboratory, debriefing rooms and flight dispatch and departmental spaces.

“We’ll have our simulation bay in there,” Hutto said. “We’ll have flight dispatch, weather capabilities, a conference room and even our testing center. We have a first-class aviation program that has been around for now in our 76th year, so having a facility to really showcase what we do is going to be fantastic.”

Incoming students will begin in University College this fall. Students in the program could decide whether they want to finish in the business college or migrate to the new program.

Constance Relihan, associate provost for undergraduate studies and director of University College, said the programs’ move will eliminate about 32 hours of core business courses required in both degree programs.

“Now, they won’t have those College of Business courses, which means they’ll be able to have more aviation courses, or they’ll be able to add a minor in another area that they’re interested in – say a language or some other focus – so that they’ll really be well-rounded, multi-dimensional professionals,” Relihan said.