The Roanoke Regional Airport just finished a $4 million renovation, now the name of the airport is also getting a facelift.
After spending much of this year researching whether to change it, the Roanoke Regional Airport has a new name.
It's just one word the Airport Commission added, but they say it's a big one. The airport is now the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, meant to reflect the growth of that area, and new regional partnerships with Roanoke.
"We get 30% of our passengers out of the New River Valley area, and that's a significant number," said Airport Executive Director Jacqueline Shuck.
"We wanted to better reflect all that growth going on," said Commission chair Cynthia Lawrence.
"Blacksburg, New River Valley Region always has been and will continue to be a significant contributor to the airport," added co-chair Bill Gust.
If the name change comes as a surprise, consider how intertwined Blacksburg is with the airport already.
A Smartway bus drops travelers off right in front of the airport, leave the airport and one of the first street signs you see tells you how to get to Virginia Tech.
Students flying home for the holidays understand the change.
"When I say the airport I mean the Roanoke Airport. So changing the name makes sense," said Virginia Tech masters student Zoe Cornwell.
The name change is official, voted unanimously Tuesday morning by the Airport Commission.
The commission will spend much of next year making the physical changes around the building.
One of the changes that need to be made include the brand new concrete sign. Airport officials tell me they had the name change in mind when they built it. The letters are removable.
Airport leaders say changing the name to the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport reflects the economic development of Blacksburg and the expansion of Virginia Tech into Roanoke.
"It's name recognition, the contribution that Virginia Tech has made and the ties that Roanoke has to Blacksburg through Virginia Tech," Bill Gust said.
"The airport is a major economic engine and driver for the two regions and we wanted to better reflect what's going on between the partnership in Blacksburg and Roanoke," Lawrence added.
"I think all the kids there, the students, feel pride in Blacksburg, so I think they will enjoy that," said Ilana Knust, visiting her daughter who goes to Tech.
Leaders at the airport say the building is the first thing people see when they come to our area.
With new renovations, and a new name, the hope is that it represents our region well.
We've gotten a lot of feedback about this on the WDBJ7 Facebook page.
Resoundingly, people are saying they don't understand why the name change was necessary, others are asking why we don't include other localities beyond Blacksburg.
Airport officials say they spent a lot of time and effort making sure this change would be good for the area.
The Roanoke Regional Airport Commission has voted to change the name of Roanoke Regional Airport.
The airport's new name is Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport at Woodrum Field. The name change is official, but most of the visible changes won't happen until 2014.
Board members say the economic growth in Blacksburg and regional expansion of Virginia Tech played a role in the name change.
"I think the more we looked at it, the more we realized that the airport is a funnel, it's the first impression many people get about our community," Bill Gust of the Roanoke Airport Commission said. "And our community is inclusive of the New River Valley and Blacksburg area."