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OU Max Westheimer Airport Receives $36.5 Million for Improvements

Joe Harroz and Tom Cole pose during OU Aviation Announcement.

OU Max Westheimer Airport Receives $36.5 Million for Improvements

April 3, 2024

NORMAN, OKLA. – University of Oklahoma leaders and Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) celebrated the recent funding to support improvements to the Max Westheimer Airport in Norman. Renovations include extending and strengthening the runway, developing a new taxiway and adding hangar space to accommodate OU’s growing aviation school and increased airport traffic. The improvements will also create safer ingress and egress passageways.

“Today, we extend our deepest gratitude to Congressman Tom Cole for his unwavering support and leadership in securing this significant federal investment, which will significantly enhance our infrastructure at Max Westheimer Airport and also elevate the excellence of OU’s esteemed aviation program,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “Congressman Cole’s dedication to advancing education and innovation resonates deeply with our mission, and we are immensely grateful for his advocacy. This transformative funding ensures that our students will continue to receive unparalleled opportunities and resources, cementing OU’s position as a leader in aviation education.”

“Max Westheimer Airport is such an essential part of the local economy and the transportation infrastructure that serves the University of Oklahoma, the city of Norman, and surrounding communities,” said Congressman Cole. “This is why I am proud to announce that I was able to secure $36.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations package for the Max Westheimer Airport to make beneficial improvements. I am very excited to see the enhancements that the airport makes with these funds, and I want to thank University of Oklahoma President Harroz for working with me throughout the FY24 Appropriations process.”

In addition to the federal appropriations secured by Congressman Cole, a $1.7 million grant from the Oklahoma Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics and a gift from the Pigman Family Charitable Fund supports the construction of a new aircraft hangar designed to house planes from the university’s cutting-edge fleet. The recent addition of nine new aircraft brings the school closer to its goal of 28 aircraft.

OU’s aviation program within the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences was recently named the best in the country by FLYING Magazine and has grown significantly in recent years to address the critical shortage of aviation professionals. Applications to the School of Aviation increased by 33% this year, with approximately 800 students applying. Freshman enrollment in aviation programs has more than doubled over the last two years to meet the workforce demands for pilots, air traffic controllers and airport managers.

A link to view a recording of the announcement is available at

OU executives and regents pose during Aviation announcement.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit

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