Doc’s Friends, Inc. today announced the location chosen for the permanent home for B-29 Doc in Wichita. On the one-year anniversary of the restored warbird’s return to flight, Doc’s Friends revealed plans for the 32,000 sq ft B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center.
“One year ago today we celebrated Doc’s return to flight after 16 years of dedication by hundreds of volunteers,” said Jeff Turner, Doc’s Friends, Inc board chairman. “Shortly after that day, we began working on this phase of our project: building a permanent home for Doc in Wichita. I’m proud to announce that Doc’s legacy and the legacy of volunteers will forever call Wichita home.”
Doc’s Friends, Inc. has reached an agreement with the City of Wichita and the Wichita Airport Authority on a long-term lease of property in the 1700 block of south Airport Road on the grounds of Wichita’s Eisenhower National Airport. The agreement has cleared the way for Doc’s Friends to enter the final stages of preparation to begin construction on the estimated $6.5 million dollar project.
The 32,000 sq ft facility will include 24,000 sq ft of hangar space and will be used as a working maintenance facility where the public can come and watch crews maintain Doc with hands-on learning experiences inspired by science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
“We’ve said from the beginning that our vision was to build a permanent home for Doc in Wichita. Doc’s home will be a centerpiece to celebrate not only Wichita’s place in aviation history, but it will be a cornerstone to celebrate the men and women who built, maintained and served in the B-29 to protect our freedom. It will also be a unique place for future generations to connect with the majestic warbird through STEM education and perhaps they, too, will be inspired to a career in a STEM-related field,” Turner said.
More than $4.5 million has been raised for the project from Doc’s Friends board members, aviation enthusiasts, community philanthropists and industry partners. Today’s announcement opens the final phase of the fundraising to the public through a brick memorial paver program and a Kickstarter campaign.
“Having a permanent home for Doc means preserving what our team of dedicated volunteers has spent the last 17 years working 350,000-plus hours to achieve,” said Jim Murphy, Doc’s Friends, Inc. program director. “Today’s announcement is just another step toward ensuring we never forget the importance of the B-29 in our nation’s history and the heroes who designed, built, flew, maintained and then restored this piece of history.”
Construction on the B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center is expected to begin in September of this year and be completed in September of 2018.