Newton Kansan

Construction on the Aviation Business International building at the Newton City-County Airport is moving along as planned, with the facility's opening still scheduled for October.

ABI will bring its subsidary ABI Chemicals to Newton. The company will produce next-generation aerospace coatings used in areospace manufacturing processes, being developed in conjuction with Wichita State University's National Institute for Aviation Research.

The 20,000 square foot building is up, as is the roof and siding, put together by Eby Construction, of Wichita. The sprinkler system is set up. The office system has yet to be completed, John Fathi, executive vice president of ABI said.

"It is a state of the art building," Fathi said.

ABI CEO James Havers-Strong said, "It's a class 1 building. This is the top of the line. It's a very high tech building."

Havers-Strong praised three people for being instrumental in bringing the project to Newton: Mickey Fornaro-Dean, executive director of the Harvey County Economic Development Council; Lunda Asmani, assistant city manager; and Suzanne Loomis, city engineer.

"The three of them as a team are the reason we decided to move to Harvey County," Havers-Strong said.

Fathi praised city attorney Bob Myers as well for ironing out the legal details.

Havers-Strong said at the beginning of January this year, the deal with Newton and Harvey County had not been made yet and the building will be completed in October.

"I think that's pretty damn remarkable," he said.