People flying in and out of the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport may see some big changes starting next summer. The terminal recently finalized state funding for a major expansion expected to cost between $4 million and $6 million.
The airport has completed several additions within the past year including an 800-foot runway extension and accommodating a new airline. Now, it is in the preliminary design stage for a facelift that is expected to make the traveling experience smoother for their passengers.
"If you're not planning for the existing and for the future, you're behind the curve if you're an airport," said Melinda Crawford, CHO executive director.
CHO is preparing to take off with its vision for a new and improved terminal.
"We've grown about 25 percent within the last six or seven years, so we've really been looking forward to how we can improve the passenger process and accommodate future growth at the same time," said Crawford.
Crawford says they have secured $600,000 for the design of this project.
"It's a lot of phasing and organization in order to get where we need to be," said Crawford.
One of the biggest parts of the renovation that people will notice is that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) line will be turned sideways. The line will start at the office and move through the security check-in and into the market - swinging passengers out of the main entrance. The configuration will take up a third of one side of the terminal.
"We understand passengers have choices and when they choose CHO, we want to make sure we have the best amenities that we can offer," said Crawford.
Other changes in the works include expanding the public restrooms, building a business center upstairs, and stretching out the seats available for waiting passengers.
"We want to make it a great first impression, but we have a lot of loyal passengers. When those loyal passengers are coming through this airport, they need to have the facilities that causes their travel to be relaxed and enjoyable," said Crawford.
Crawford says the expansion will add about 7,000 square feet to the terminal. Design work is expected to take about six months. Then they are looking at up to a year and a half to complete the actual renovation.
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