COLUMBIA — Plans are back on for a new airport terminal.
The Columbia City Council unanimously approved a resolution to hire a consultant to develop plans for a proposed new terminal at the Columbia Regional Airport. Parsons Brinckerhoff will provide plans and designs, as well as put together presentations to help the city find funding for a new terminal, according to the resolution.
Parsons Brinckerhoff’s role will be to:
- Draft a report detailing spatial and functional needs along with projected costs.
- Prepare two different designs for the building and site, along with colored 3-D images of each.
- Create a graphic presentation of the chosen design.
The Passenger Terminal Upgrade Project will pay an estimated $38,407 to the consultant, according to a document on the city's website.
In an August meeting, the council appropriated $166,855.54 from the FEMA Blizzard 2011 State Grant Revenue to the Passenger Terminal Upgrade Project. In the same meeting, the council appropriated $50,000 to pay for design start for a new terminal.
John Glascock, director of Columbia Public Works, said the designs should be in hand by April. Both designs would put the new terminal north of the airport.
Mayor Bob McDavid said a consultant is necessary because the city has no idea how much a new airport terminal would cost.
Reynolds, Smith & Hills, an architectural firm in St. Louis, submitted a design for airport expansion in a report in January 2012. It estimated a new terminal would cost $17.1 million, according to previous Missourian reporting.
Glascock said the earlier designs were basically sketches and set the proposed changes in an area of the airport where the terminal wouldn't fit.
“With the security issues that we have, we think it would be better to move the commercial terminal to its own site,” Glascock said. The terminal would have three to five gates with room to expand.
Sixth Ward City Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe questioned if hiring the consultant is premature and if the city should wait until the situation is clearer in the next year or so.
Glascock said hiring the consultant now would get the concepts in hand should money become available in discretionary funds from the Federal Aviation Administration.
City Manager Mike Matthes said the demand for the airport’s service is at least 10 times more than what the airport can currently oblige, according to market studies.
Fifth Ward City Councilwoman Laura Nauser supported moving forward with a consultant but leaned toward cost awareness, modesty and functionality before grandeur.
The City Council also approved a report from the Columbia Chamber of Commerce concerning the progress and improvement of service at the airport.
The 40 in 2020 Project report was named for the goal to increase the market share 40 percent by the year 2020.
This report recommended that a new airport terminal be built and that federal funding for the project should be a top priority. It also supports a 1.5 percent increase in the lodging tax and 1 percent taken from city funds.
Other recommendations within the report included:
- Reorganizing the Airport Advisory Board into a policy-making board that will focus on growing commercial air service, general aviation, airport facilities and operations.
- Columbia Regional Airport should become its own department within the city.
McDavid said he approves of the report but views it as strictly informational.
“I personally don’t think we’re in a position to talk about funding sources for a terminal yet,” McDavid said.
However, he said that in the future there might be funding for the project, but that's not the greatest concern right now.
“There will have to be a local funding source. It will probably involve leveraging federal money," he said."The important thing right now is the stabilization of American Airlines' relationship and dealing with the Columbia to Orlando run.”
Matthes said the original idea to make the airport its own department hadn’t happened yet because of the benefits of the relationship with Columbia Public Works.
“I do think it’s a natural step to an autonomous authority,” Matthes said. “I think it’s something we need to keep in our future plans. I don’t think it’s whether we should or not, I think it’s when.”
In other news:
The council approved $16,012 for the purchase of communication headsets for the Police Department SWAT team. The money came from asset forfeiture funds. McDavid said in the precouncil meeting that some advocates have said that the money should be spent on school districts. Assistant City Counselor Nicole Volkert explained that there are funds seized and petitioned to forfeiture through the state system that do go to school systems. These funds go through the Federal Treasury Department and the Department of Justice and can be used for police equipment.
Missourian reporter Zach Strader contributed to this report.
Supervising editor is Karen Miller.