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Local News

Santa Barbara Airport Construction Contracts Clear Council

More than $40 million awarded as airline terminal project ramps up

The Santa Barbara City Council has approved construction contracts for the Santa Barbara Airport Airline Terminal Project, taking another step toward the upgrade of the decades-old facility.

According to airport spokeswoman Terri Gibson, the council awarded Lash Construction a $3.8 million contract for temporary facilities during the construction, and site preparation for the foundation of the new terminal. The council awarded EMMA Corp. a primary contract of $36.3 million to build the new terminal, roadway and parking improvements, as well as rehabilitate the historic portion of the existing terminal.

The contract awards are the latest step in the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport’s ongoing efforts to upgrade its facilities to accommodate an increasing passenger load and bring the entire airport up to Federal Aviation Administration standards. The airport completed a runway overrun project early in 2008, in accordance with recent FAA requirements, and recently completed a $3.2 million terminal ramp reconstruction project.

Visitors to the airport will soon notice the consolidation of short- and long-term parking into the long-term lot, with the existing short-term parking to become the construction staging area for the duration of the project. Additional parking can be found at Lot 2, located on Frederick Lopez Road near the intersection of Hollister and Fairview avenues.

According to a statement from the airport, the new 60,000-square-foot terminal — roughly three times the size of the existing one — will be built according to LEED standards “to the greatest extent feasible.” The terminal will retain its Spanish Colonial architecture, and will be built to accommodate the airport’s current passenger traffic of more than 800,000 annual passengers, as well as an estimated average growth rate of 2 percent per year over the next decade.

The historic portion of the existing terminal will be lifted off its foundations and relocated to the front of the terminal areas and used to house airport patrol and parking offices. It will also be used to house historic displays.

Among the improved amenities will be additional front curb loading and unloading space; centralized baggage claim; additional security holdroom seating; a wide variety of concessions; restrooms beyond the security checkpoint; and enhanced accessibility.

The majority of the funding for the roughly $63 million airport terminal project will come from revenue bonds to be repaid by tenant rents and passenger facility charges. A quarter of the cost will come through airport improvement project grants from the FAA, and a small portion will be funded by the Airport Department Capital Fund. According to the airport, no local tax dollars will be used.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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