Major changes are on the way for the La Crosse Regional Airport.
The La Crosse Airport has been working for years on a plan to upgrade their current facility, Tuesday, they presented their plan to the council. Under the plans, the current terminal building will stay standing, but the $10 million renovation will change just about everything on the inside.
The project calls for big changes like moving the security screening upstairs, and nearly doubling the size of the seating area. A gift shop and restaurant will also be combined into a new facility, and three jet bridges will be added to access planes without going outside.
Part of the reason for the project is aging mechanics in the building that need to be replaced, but Airport Manager Clinton Torp says the entire building needs a facelift. "This is really the entrance to our community for outside passengers," says Torp, "so, we wanted people to come into the airport and say wow, this is a great facility, it represents La Crosse well, and it really is a beacon for the community."
The current terminal was built 25 years ago and has seen minimal upgrades since. La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat says he's excited about the changes. He says the project will lay a foundation for growth at the airport. "The terminal, when it was constructed many years ago it was again, at that time an excellent project, state of the art," says Kabat, "but with everything, times change and especially with some of the life cycle of some of the materials and mechanics, it was really time to refresh."
The airport is also planning several changes that will help with energy efficiency, including high efficiency mechanical systems and LED lights. The project is being fully funded through state and federal grants along with user fees.
Bidding for the project will open in July and construction is expected to start this October.