The new 100-foot-tall air traffic control tower will be funded by the FAA, Indiana Department of Transportation and the City of Columbus.

Columbus, IN September 12, 2023 —Columbus Municipal Airport announced collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and Woolpert, an engineering firm, to design and build a new 100-foot-tall air traffic control tower. The project will be supported by a grant from the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program.

With its total operations rising approximately 40% over the past seven years, the Columbus Municipal Airport is one of the fastest growing general aviation airports in Indiana. Last year alone, the airport reported more than 55,000 aviation operations.

“The Columbus Air Traffic Control Tower has been a staple since the military base of the 1940s, but it is in dire need of replacement to provide quality service to tenants and transient aircraft,” said Brian Payne, Columbus Municipal Airport Director.

The American Institute of Architects has recognized Columbus, IN, as one of the nation’s most architecturally important cities, citing its unique collection of buildings designed by prominent architects, including Harry Weese, Kevin Roche, Eero Saarinen, and Deborah Berke.

“This is a special opportunity for the airport to contribute to Columbus’ history and create a unique structure that adds to the beautiful landscape of our community,” Payne said.

Working with the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program, the Airport has shortlisted five design firms for consideration:

  • Studio: indigenous, New Mexico
  • Snow Kreilich, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Marlon Blackwell Architects, Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • SO – IL Architects, Brooklyn, New York
  • Howeler + Yoon, Boston, Massachusetts

“We are excited about this unique opportunity to contribute to Columbus’ wonderful architectural history and heritage,” said Jim Schacht, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility for Cummins Inc. and CEO of the Cummins Foundation. “The new tower will serve as yet another example of our community’s continuing commitment to innovation, art, and design.”

The Cummins Foundation Architecture Program recently supported the construction of a new building for Ivy Tech Community College at the AirPark Columbus College Campus that was completed earlier this year.

Woolpert has been hired by the Columbus Board of Aviation Commissioners to complete the structural design of a new $11.5 million air traffic control tower at Columbus Municipal Airport. The new tower will replace the airport’s existing 80-year-old tower and will be upgraded to align with current Federal

Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control Tower standards, including sighting, backup cooling and power, security, fire and life safety, and FAA equipment.

Woolpert Project Manager Ryan McCroskey said “the tower will be designed to reflect the city’s strong architectural history.” Woolpert is working with the airport to secure federal grant funding for the new air traffic control tower project.

Media Contacts:

Brian J. Payne

Airport Director

(812) 376-2519

About Columbus Municipal Airport

Boasting the 4th busiest airport in the State, the Columbus Municipal Airport continually invests in infrastructure and improvements to meet the needs of the community and flying public.

The Columbus Municipal Airport sits on 2,750 acres of property, owns 23 buildings, houses 80 based aircraft, and features both the Atterbury-Bakalar Museum and Blackerby’s Hangar 5 restaurant as key tourist destinations. The Columbus Municipal Airport is truly one of Columbus’ greatest assets. With capabilities to land nearly any business, military, or personal aircraft flying today and remaining off the property tax rolls to the citizens of Columbus, the Airport remains a business driver with an estimated annual economic impact of $650 million.

About the Cummins Foundation

The Cummins Foundation was created in 1954, 35 years after Cummins was founded. It was one of the early corporate foundations and is part of the global giving arm of Cummins Inc. It makes grants primarily in Cummins’ plant communities around the world and for projects that engage Cummins employees.

In 1957, the Cummins Foundation made its first grant to support architecture fees, for the Lillian C. Schmitt Elementary School, designed by Harry Weese. The Architecture Program became a formal part of the Cummins Foundation in 1960 with a grant for Northside Middle School. It began with schools, but later grew to encompass all facilities owned and operated by public tax dollars. The program recommends architects and provides funds for the design portion of the architect fees for selected public projects to encourage architectural excellence in Bartholomew County, Indiana. More than 50 projects have been sponsored by the Cummins Foundation. The community embraced this commitment to architecture, and numerous other significant works of architecture in the community have been privately commissioned.

About Woolpert

Woolpert is the premier architecture, engineering, geospatial (AEG), and strategic consulting firm, with a vision to become one of the best companies in the world. We innovate within and across markets to effectively serve public, private, and government clients worldwide. Woolpert is a Global Top 100 Geospatial Company, a Top 100 ENR Global Design firm, earned six straight Great Place to Work certifications, and actively nurtures a culture of growth, inclusion, diversity, and respect. Founded in 1911 in Dayton, Ohio, Woolpert has been America’s fastest-growing AEG firm since 2015. Woolpert has over 2,000 employees and more than 60 offices on five continents. For more, visit