New aiport terminal comes with long name

Wichita’s airport was given a new name Monday.

In a special ceremony previewing the new terminal scheduled to open this spring, the airport officially adopted its new name, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. The name change honors President Eisenhower, who lived in Abilene, Kan., for part of his life.

The airport opened as the Wichita Municipal Airport in 1954. It was renamed “Wichita Mid-Continent Airport” in 1973, according to the airport’s website.

Since it opened in ’54, the airport has not undergone any significant upgrades to its building. In 2012, after years of several small renovations, a groundbreaking was held in September for a new terminal, which is scheduled for completion this spring.

Throughout the early stages of construction, there was talk about changing the airport’s name to honor President Eisenhower. On March 4, 2014, the Wichita City Council approved changing the airport’s name, with a price tag of about $140,000, the Wichita Eagle reported.

While the price to change the name of the airport was not much when compared to the $200 million being spent on the new terminal, the name change was not money that needed to be spent.

It is understandable to want to honor a president by naming institutions after him, such as airports and libraries, but the name change was not necessary.

Supporters of the name change have said the airport’s previous name did not help with Wichita’s label as the “Air Capital of the World,” because it was not a “tough” name. However, the name did clearly spell out Wichita’s location on the map, in the middle of North America.

The $140,000 required to make the name change could have been spent on things that actually matter, such as education. Spending that much money on an airport name change wasn’t the wisest move.

It is good the airport is getting a brand new terminal — a new one is certainly long overdue. The new terminal will make the airport much more modern. However, a new terminal does not justify a new name. Sadly, that has been overruled.

Maybe next time the city will spend that kind of money more wisely.