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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Gainesville airport receives $12 Million grant to expand terminal

<p><span>The Gainesville Regional Airport has plans to continue a 15,200 square feet terminal expansion in order to accommodate the growing Gainesville population. The second phase of expansion is expected to begin fall 2019. The expansion will include two additional gates, a pet relief area, a lactation lounge, a chapel/reflection room and a play area for children. </span></p>

The Gainesville Regional Airport has plans to continue a 15,200 square feet terminal expansion in order to accommodate the growing Gainesville population. The second phase of expansion is expected to begin fall 2019. The expansion will include two additional gates, a pet relief area, a lactation lounge, a chapel/reflection room and a play area for children. 

Local travelers will have more terminals to choose from as they fly in and out of Gainesville.

Gainesville Regional Airport will receive a $12,163,252 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to fund a 15,200-square foot terminal expansion. The grant will be awarded over a two-year period and is the largest earned by the Gainesville Alachua County Regional Airport Authority, Erin Porter, the Gainesville Airport manager of marketing and public relations, said. 

Ground break for the new terminal will happen in mid-November and will add two additional gates and amenities including expanded restrooms, a second food and beverage area, a lactation room, a prayer room, a children's play area and an outdoor pet relief area, she said.

The grant is part of the Federal Aviation Administration’sAirport Improvement Program, which provides funding for airports across the U.S. based on activity levels and project needs. The grants usually fund between 70-95 percent of an airport’s projects, Porter said. 

Porter wrote in an email that the grant was much-needed because of growth in the Gainesville community and air traffic capacity being at an all-time high.

“This expansion allows the airport to better accommodate the flights it has now, as well as prepare for future growth,” Porter said.

To fund these renovations, the airport will be using a $1.275 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, $2,412,236 from passenger facility charges, and $107,000 from the Gainesville Alachua County Regional Airport Authority revenue, Porter said. The project has been budgeted at just under $16 million.

Other updates include a new entrance road, opening 40 acres to potential development, $8 million in terminal renovations, commercial aircraft apron expansion, a 350 kilowatt solar panel project, parking lot expansion, and airport fire station replacement. 

Airport staff will have a meeting with the contractor next month to finalize construction plans for the next two years, Porter said. The project’s total cost is expected to be about $14.5 million.

Sophia Alday, a 19-year-old tourism, events and recreation management sophomore at UF, has flown in and out of the airport to Dallas Fort Worth, where her family is from. She chose to fly out of Gainesville because it was more convenient since the airport added direct flights to the Dallas area. 

She said she is excited for the expansion because it will help bring more money into the local economy and will help local businesses flourish. She also thinks that airport could benefit from some Gator decorations, much like the Disney decor in Orlando, she said. 

“It makes it an experience and would encourage people to fly in for gator events and games, thus boosting the economy here,” she said.

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The Gainesville Regional Airport has plans to continue a 15,200 square feet terminal expansion in order to accommodate the growing Gainesville population. The second phase of expansion is expected to begin fall 2019. The expansion will include two additional gates, a pet relief area, a lactation lounge, a chapel/reflection room and a play area for children. 

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