Campaign boosts Thunderbird Tower restoration - Your West Valley News: Glendale

Campaign boosts Thunderbird Tower restoration

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Posted: Friday, June 11, 2010 6:15 am

Students at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale have received reinforcements in their movement to restore a flight control tower on campus that was used in pilot training during World War II.

Pilots from 26 countries trained in Glendale, making their way to Thunderbird Field beginning in 1941. The Thunderbird Tower was a landmark of that period, and it still stands.

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs launched a fund-raising campaign and partnership with M&I Bank June 3, saying the tower is an important part of the city’s and the region’s history.

“I was so proud of them for beginning this effort to restore the tower, and I wanted to help,” she said. “Most of all I wanted to make this a community effort, because the Thunderbird Tower represents such a wonderful part of our history.”

Construction, budgeted at about $2.5 million, began in September last year. Of that total, more than $400,000 is left to be raised. That, Scruggs said, is where the community will need to step in. Stephen Johnson, M&I Bank’s Arizona region president, presented Scruggs with a check for $500 on behalf of M&I’s employees.

When finished, Thunderbird Tower will serve as a campus common area, with a pub and game room, a retail shop, student kitchen and a veterans/alumni gallery.

To donate mail or drop off a check payable to the Historic Thunderbird Tower Restoration to the Glendale Office of the Mayor, 5850 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, AZ 85301. For information on the project, visit

Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or

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