Councilors Paving the way for Airport Terminal

A new airport terminal for Wichita Falls is one step closer to existence.  Today the city council approved almost $1 million for renovations to the Wichita Falls Municipal Airport.

Back in September falls airport officials got word the Department of Transportation was making changes in how it funded projects.

The DOT decided to move small non-hub terminal sites to the very top of the list in funding and that means big news for us.

"The roof leaks.  There's not enough room," said Mayor Glenn Barham.

The Municipal Airport has served our area for more than 50 years, so when the chance came to take up an offer by the FAA to build a new energy-efficient terminal, the answer was yes.

"What we have noticed the last several years is that any project that has received federal funding has to have design work ready to go," said John Burrus, Director of Aviation, Traffic and Transportation.

The plan is to allow a professional service to design 35 percent of the terminal.  That's enough for officials to look at costs and the construction process.

After that's done they will be able to split the terminal into three plans.

"The terminal building itself, the aircraft parking apron to serve that terminal building, and a new parking lot for that entire facility," said Burrus.

$350,000 would come from airport equity funds.  The other $400,000 would come from general funds.  The money from the general funds will be paid off by the FAA and airport fees.

Falls' leaders are already looking ahead.

"We need a new facility.  We need two gates out there so we can hopefully expand in the future and get another carrier to come into Wichita Falls," said Barham.

In this morning's city council meeting Tim Ingle was the only member against funding the new terminal.

He believes that further sharing the runway with Sheppard Air Force Base will burden them with a possibility of more civilian air craft landing there.  Mayor Glenn Barham says he is confident Sheppard is on board.

The design phase should take about four months. The construction will begin after that.