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Springfield-Branson Regional ...Airport continues expansion plan

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Plans to expand the terminal at the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport are taking flight.

The Springfield-Branson Regional Airport is moving forward on a plan to expand its terminal. This expansion will take the airport through the next 12 or 15 years, until it begins building a brand new terminal on property adjacent to the existing terminal, said Rob Hancik, director of aviation.

The airport received federal funds for the construction of a grand transportation terminal, to accommodate "mostly tour buses," Hancik said. In order for that structure to fit into the terminal landscape most efficiently, the path of the entrance road will have to change, Hancik said.

The existing canopies will also be removed so that taller buses can get through, he added. The change in the entrance road will also allow additional space for the rental car agencies; three of the rental car agencies near the airport are now located off-site, Hancik said.

In order to accommodate these changes, the airport requires that Hangar One be vacated.

Hangar One is now home to Worldwide Aircraft Services. Worldwide filed a petition for declaratory judgment in Greene County Circuit Court, which essentially asked for an evaluation of its lease on the Hangar One property.

Worldwide officials had said they thought their lease agreement gave them a right to the property until December of 1999 and possibly beyond, but the judge in the case ruled that Worldwide has no rights to the property, according to its lease, after December 1998.

Hancik said the airport will need access to the building and will vacate the hangar by Sept. 1, 1999.

"We can make an agreement to take them (Worldwide) through Sept. 1, 1999, but that's as far as we can go. We've given them some options for relocating on the airport, but we haven't been able to reach an agreement," Hancik said.

The airport will expand its baggage claim area, and connect the baggage claim to Hangar One.

The ground transportation facility will be where Hangar One is now, and two additional gates will be added on to that building, Hancik said.

"We're at capacity on our gates now. We have to have a way to get more gate space onto the facility to handle the plane traffic that's through here," Hancik said.

Hancik also said that the American National Fish and Wildlife Living Museum and Aquarium will have a major feature within the expansion. A portion of the area will be used to promote the tourist attraction.

The existing Hangar One structure will be used, Hancik said.

"We had looked at tearing down the entire structure, but because we're going to be more short of time than we had originally planned, we are going to work with the existing structure," Hancik said.

The transportation facility and terminal expansion has been a two-year project, Hancik said.

The project has been funded by the passenger facility charge the airport collects and federal grant money, as well as some internal funds.

The airport board will probably have to approve some bridge financing, in the form of bonds, as the airport develops and refines the estimate for the total work. The passenger facility charge will fund $4.2 million of the expansion and the federal transportation grant is for $3.5 million and requires a 20 percent match.

The airport is bidding the transportation facility project now and plans to begin clearing and preparing the area for construction during the "next construction season," or in the spring and summer of 1999, Hancik said.

The airport also has other plans, such as replacing its main runway, which is 25 years old and needs to be fixed within the next three years, Hancik said. In order to stay operational, the airport plans to extend its east-west runway to 8,000 feet in and use it while the main north-south runway is under construction.

The airport has also completed its expansion of the air cargo building. The $4.3 million expansion will house Federal Express, which had not previously had an airport presence. The expansion also houses Queen City Air Freight and United Parcel Service.

At its Dec. 16 meeting, the airport board will accept a passenger study from Southwest Missouri State University.

INSET CAPTION:

Alterations will be made to the airport's Hangar One in order to increase terminal space[[In-content Ad]]

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