WARRENSBURG, Mo. — The University of Central Missouri on Friday celebrated the opening of its new $5.1 million Skyhaven Aviation Center.

The 10,000-square-foot facility will be the new centerpiece at the Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport.

UCM is the only Missouri university to operate its own public-use and educational airport with the university offering degrees in aviation management.

With that in mind, the Skyhaven Aviation Center was designed to serve private pilots while also training UCM students to join the aviation industry.

The new facility includes a pilots lounge, lockers, offices, conference room, 30 private flight instructor-aviation student pods and more.

“This magnificent building will allow UCM to build on its past successes and attract new generations of students to learn and fly here,” said David Pearce, UCM’s executive director of governmental relations.

UCM said the new aviation center was funded a combination of private gifts, state money and university funds.

At Friday’s dedication ceremony, Courtney Goddard with the UCM Alumni Foundation said the project was originally planned to be smaller, but “a group of people dared to dream much bigger,” she said.

“This terminal benefited from the incredible partnership  between the state of Missouri, private donor support and the university,” she said Friday.

“And because of this shared vision from all of those folks and from donors, in addition to those who are here today, the aviation center became what it is today, which is a $5.1 million investment in the future of the University of Central Missouri.”

UCM has also secured more state funding to add a self-service fuel pump in the future.