Construction continues for BCPAL aviation center

Published 8:07 pm Friday, August 4, 2017


Courtesy of a grant from Lowe’s Home Improvement, the construction of the Beaufort County Police Activities League Aviation, Technology and Fitness Center is set to continue.

Every year, Lowe’s honors a nonprofit organization as part of their Lowe’s Heroes grant. This year, the Washington store awarded $2,500 to the Beaufort County Police Activities League, an organization striving to expose children to careers in science, technology and math.

The Lowe’s Heroes grant covers the expenses of dry wall installation for BCPAL’s center and provides a team of volunteers to do the work.

Al Powell, president of BCPAL, said the center has only become reality due to its generous sponsors and partnerships.

“Collaboration is the name of the game. Nobody does it alone,” Powell said.

The Lowe’s Heroes team started work on Wednesday, and Powell said the team has made tremendous progress in two days. They were still hard at work on Friday morning, and have no set end date — they will work until it’s finished.

The center includes a fitness center, an office space, kitchenette, a shower and bathrooms. It will also feature a computer lab with 30 laptop computers fully equipped with aviation simulation software, a science laboratory to construct airplane models, projectors and a state-of-the-art classroom with a home theatre, according to Powell.

“He’s thought about just about everything I can think of,” laughed Scott Smith, store manager of Washington’s Lowe’s Home Improvement.

BCPAL has also leased a full motion airplane simulator that Powell said will be a good stepping-stone before the children actually go on a small plane.

“We’re the only place, that I know of, with this simulator. It’s really realistic. I mean, you could get sick in this thing, it’s so realistic,” Powell said.

Powell said the Little Washington Sailing School will also donate a sailboat to the center in an effort to teach children about boats in a hands-on manner.

The airplane simulator and sailboat are located at the very back of the center, which will tease what sits outside — a real plane.

After completion of the simulation, children will be able to actually help fly a small plane.

Best-case scenario, Powell said the center could be finished in the fall. He said there have been some lulls in the construction due to monetary setbacks, but this grant has given the project some momentum and he’s excited to see the finished product.

“It really is a thing of beauty,” Powell said.