Now nearly a year into construction, the Prescott Regional Airport’s new $15 million passenger terminal project is entering the final-details stage. During an update report on Thursday, Dec. 10, Airport Operations Superintendent Jeff Tripp told the Prescott Airport Advisory Committee that the terminal project was “on track and making really good progress.”
The project, which broke ground in January 2020, is slated to open for business in March 2021.
“We’re getting into the final stages of the next three months of getting the terminal ready for opening,” Tripp said this past week. The terminal project began with several months of earthwork and underground utility relocations during the winter and early spring of 2020, and then transitioned to vertical-building construction in the late spring and summer.
In May, the 30 steel columns were installed for the building’s massive vaulted-roof ceiling. Roof work began in about July, and this past week Tripp reported to the committee: “The roof is on, and (contractors) are doing final button-up.” With much of the building’s structure in place, Tripp said, “We’re getting to point where they can start firing up the internal systems – start getting the heating going, testing things.”
Other upcoming tasks will include the installation of airport components such as a baggage-handling system and security measures by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). Prescott Regional Airport Operations Superintendent Jeff Tripp explains the final stages of the work going on at the new passenger terminal site on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. Tripp told the Prescott Airport Advisory Committee this past week that the project is on track for a March 2021 opening of the new terminal. (Cindy Barks/Courier)
“We met with the baggage handling system folks earlier in the week. They came out and did a site visit,” Tripp said, adding that the airport was now waiting to hear back on any final comments or questions on “things we have to do in preparation of them installing the baggage-handling system in March.”
The airport is also working with the TSA on the pending installation of full-body scanner equipment, which Tripp said would be paid for by the TSA. In addition, the TSA will be moving over the metal detector and X-ray machine from the city’s existing passenger terminal. Tripp said that is expected to happen on the night before the opening of the new terminal.
“There are a lot of things happening,” Tripp said. “Now we’re getting down the detail things in the interior.” Other final details will include making sure the city’s IT (information technology) is working in coordination with the airline and TSA, as well as getting offices moved in, and furniture installed. Kristi Miller, airport management analyst, showed the committee members a series of new artists’ drawings of several of the terminal design features, such as a “landside” outdoor courtyard, a two-sided indoor-outdoor fireplace, and a great hall with a ticket counter.
The terminal will also have restrooms in both the non-secure and secure areas, including a family restroom. The need for a new airport terminal had been discussed for years in Prescott, and the plan ramped up over the past two years because of the growing passenger numbers. (See related story.)
The new terminal will replace the city’s aging terminal that dates back to the 1940s. In late 2019, the airport was awarded a $10 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant for the new terminal project, along with $1.25 million from the state. Then, in mid-April 2020, the city received word that the airport would get just over $1 million in funding from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) – much of which was expected to go toward the terminal project. The city also earlier committed $3.5 million from its own funds to go toward the terminal cost. (Officials have said that amount could be reduced by the additional federal funding through the CARES program.)
The city contracted with the team of Willmeng Construction and Fann Contracting to do the project.