Bob Joseph/WNBF News [file][/caption]A project using geothermal technology and designed by Binghamton University students is being built at the Greater Binghamton Airport.

Broome County Executive Debra Preston says the pavement in an aircraft parking area where people exit planes will be heated in what she believes may be the first project of its kind at a United States airport.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, Preston said the geothermal technology also will help cool the inside of the airport during the summer.

Preston said the project should result in "substantial savings" in heating and cooling costs at the airport in the town of Maine.

The total cost of the work is about $1.2 million. Most of that is being provided by the Federal Aviation Administration. The remainder is being funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Preston said in addition to the cost savings from the project, it's expected to bring about a net reduction in greenhouse gases related to heating and cooling at the airport.

The county executive said the project is expected to be completed by next March.