Part of the historic air-traffic control tower is on the ground at the Sebring Regional Airport. The nearly 63-foot tall structure was not the victim of a natural disaster. Instead, it is the result of a project that will see it totally refurbished.
The Sebring Airport Authority has received a $50,000 grant and matched it dollar for dollar, providing a total of $100,000 to do the project.
Frasier Contracting of Winter Haven is doing the work, gently taking the cab off the top of the tower and setting it on the ground so work could begin.
An inspection showed that although the metal sheeting on the roof is sound, the rafters of the cab were not. They are being replaced. The seals around the windows also are being replaced and the floor is scheduled for new carpeting.
Plans are to have it back in place by the weekend.
The staircase leading up to the tower is being renovated as well. Those safety repairs are being made so that people will be prevented from dropping off the side.
Sebring’s traffic control tower is one of only two of its kind left in the United States. The other is in Wendover, Utah. That one already has been restored.
Getting the grant has been an ongoing source of frustration for the SAA. The Authority has applied for the money for several consecutive years without success.
Apparently there have been so many applications for the grant, the Sebring request repeatedly ended up at the bottom of the list.
Officials at the airport say an order by Governor Rick Scott to fund all requests this year has resulted in the money coming forward.
One of the problems also revolved around the lack of ability to get the tower on the National Register of Historic Places, inasmuch as it has been moved since its construction in 1941.
Renovation on the tower started right after this year’s 10th Annual Sport Aviation Expo in January. Work is slated to be completed in time for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
Those are the only two events where the historic tower is pressed into service.