Monday’s ColumbiaCity Council meeting saw several projects approved. After several years of discussion, the construction of the new terminal at the Columbia Regional Airport is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Columbia City Council unanimously approved to proceed with the proposed method of construction for the terminal during Monday night’s regular City Council meeting.
The design-build method chosen for this project was discussed by City Council in July during a pre-council work session. In July, the council decided to work with engineering firm Burns and McDonnell to create initial plans for the new terminal. The Federal Aviation Administration approved the method in August. Ten firms have applied to construct the new terminal, but city staff will narrow the list after reviewing qualifications.
The current terminal size is approximately 16,000 square feet, and the new terminal will be around 60,000 square feet. Construction of the project is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2020 and be completed by the spring of 2022.
Funding for the project will come from multiple local sources including:
- $14.2 million from a special obligation bond, which includes $9 million from the temporary hotel/motel tax and $5 million in passenger facility charges
- $2 million from the city’s designated loan fund
- $3 million from the transportation sales tax
Future funding sources for the project will include FAA grant funding.
The construction of the terminal will occur in phases. The first phase will cost approximately $20 million, and the total project is estimated to cost $35 million. The new terminal will be built where the current hanger sits, and the existing hanger will be moved to the far west side of the property.
The first phase will entail the construction of the new terminal including the building of three of the four boarding bridges, inbound baggage, mechanical and electrical plumbing, TSA screening, boarding gates and secure areas. The second phase will include office space administration, rental car agencies, airline offices and outbound baggage.
Matt McCormick, President of Columbia’s Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of the plan.
“The airport continues to prove its value to our community and region by serving approximately 250,000 people this last year,” McCormick said. “The current facility has pretty well outlived its ability to service the passengers in an efficient and effective manner.”
During Monday’s meeting, council members also unanimously voted to move forward with the Magnolia Falls Park project.
Mike Griggs, the director of Columbia Parks and Recreation, said the first phase of the project was set to start this spring and end in the spring of 2021.
The park project collected pages of feedback, including concerns about parking space and lack of ADA access, through online surveys available from mid-July to September. There were also two interested parties meeting held where dozens of people voiced opinions.
Improvements listed for the project include:
• A new playground.
• A small shelter with picnic tables and a grill.
• Completing the gravel perimeter trail.
• Addition of a soccer goal.
• Adding a small parking lot that includes six standard spaces and one ADA accessible space.
• A new 6-foot-wide concrete path from the neighborhood access of Forsythia Falls Loop to the playground and shelter.
Not funded in the project is the $65,000 renovation of a low-water crossing bridge and the addition of a basketball court. Ward 4 Councilman Ian Thomas asked if a court was being planned to be built in the future. That could be a possibility, according to Griggs, although there is not currently a plan for another phase of improvements.
The next Columbia City Council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4.