A substantial renovation and expansion of the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport’s passenger terminal is slated to begin next summer.
A reconfigured security screening area and new, larger public restrooms — before and after the TSA checkpoint — are among the elements that likely will be the most visible changes for travelers.
In addition, the terminal’s deli and gift shop will be relocated; passenger departure and seating areas will be expanded; electronic gadget charging stations will be added; a business center will be added upstairs; and the terminal’s escalators will be replaced.
Outside, a pedestrian ramp from the parking area to the terminal also is planned.
“I firmly believe that you get one chance to make a really good first impression on individuals, and having the amenities that they need plays a really big role in making that impression,” said Melinda Crawford, the airport’s executive director.
Overall, the project is estimated to cost between $4 million and 6 million, Crawford said.
“As far as the [terminal] structure itself, I don’t think we’ve had what’s about to take place since 1991,” said airport spokesman Jason Burch.
Funding from the Virginia Department of Aviation and the Federal Aviation Administration will cover the project. Right now, only the funding for the design work has been set aside, Cherry Evans, a spokeswoman for the state aviation department, said in an email.
Design work is expected to be completed by late spring. Crawford said the cost for design of the project is about $600,000.
Bill Kehoe, chairman of the airport authority board, said he’s excited that the renovation will help shift the security line out of the airport’s rotunda-like main entrance.
“That’s a very beautiful area and we’d rather not have anything encroaching into the rotunda,” Kehoe said. Moving security, he said, will not only improve the passenger experience but enhance the building’s form and function.
Post-renovation, the security checkpoint still will have two lanes, but substantially more capacity, with room to expand, Crawford said.
Kehoe said he is confident the project will advance as planned.
“I anticipate that we’re going to receive approval and support from every entity from which we will need approval,” he said.
Evans said the state aviation department will be a “participating party” to the project’s design and construction phases but will not determine the need for nor guide the project.
“We have concurred with the project,” Evans said.
When completed, the terminal will have about 65,000 square feet of public space, up from 60,000 now.
The proposed work on the terminal follows a recently completed 800-foot extension of the airport’s runway.