Airport terminal project uses existing buildingThe current terminal building at the Jamestown Regional Airport was built in 1961 and is the oldest commercial air terminal in North Dakota. At that time the airplanes flying in and out of Jamestown were bigger and the passenger counts were higher but the need for space in the terminal building was smaller.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The current terminal building at the Jamestown Regional Airport was built in 1961 and is the oldest commercial air terminal in North Dakota. At that time the airplanes flying in and out of Jamestown were bigger and the passenger counts were higher but the need for space in the terminal building was smaller.
“At that time Northwest Airlines had four flights of jets,” said Johnny Klingenberg, president of the airport authority. “We were approaching 10,000 passengers each year and you could buy a round-trip ticket to Minneapolis for $52.”
Currently twin engine turbo prop commuter aircraft serve Jamestown with two flights in and out each day. Passenger boardings have been climbing from about 175 per month before the reintroduction of non-stop flights to Minneapolis in May 2008, to about 300 per month now.
“But we needed to provide limited space back then,” Klingenberg said. “We didn’t have to provide office space for the airline crew and manager. When the building was built there was no Transportation Safety Administration, there was no sterile area.”
A sterile area is a waiting room for people who have already gone through the security screening. An addition was added to the terminal in 2003 for this purpose but has no access to bathrooms.
These needs prompted the airport board to begin exploring options for a new terminal about a year ago. Instead of an entirely new building an expansion project was chosen to save costs. The new design makes use of the existing building and adds more room for passengers along with creating a more modern and progressive look to the whole building.
“The existing terminal is about 6,000 square feet,” said Andrew Schneider, airport manager. “The addition would be 4,800 square feet. All of the passenger space will be new and we’ll utilize the old building for administrative areas not covered by Federal Aviation Administration funding.”
The extra space is needed due to the realities of travel today.
“People use to arrive 15 minutes before their flight,” Klingenberg said. “Now we tell them they have to be here an hour before their flight for security.”
And the terminal expansion is geared toward updating the image of Jamestown seen by the traveling public.
“We’re building it for comfort and convenience of the passengers and the family that comes to the airport,” Klingenberg said. “But making a good impression counts for as much as anything. It becomes economic development. If some bigwig flies in to check out Jamestown the first impression he gets is from the airport.”
Travel professionals agree.
“I think the traveling public would welcome it especially if we have a jetway,” said Jackie Tarpinian. “It makes people comfortable and makes us look progressive.”
A jetway is an enclosed walkway from the terminal to the airplane. Klingenberg said it is not part of the current terminal design but is a possible expansion to the building in the future.
But before plans for future expansion can be considered financing for the current project must be worked out, Klingenberg said.
“The amount to be paid locally is still an unknown,” he said. “For funding we are using our FAA entitlement of $150,000 per year that we have banked for the last two years. We have borrowed entitlement money from two general aviation airports so from those sources we have $600,000. There is FAA funding for terminal projects but it is capped at $200,000 per year. If we start construction in 2010 and finish in 2011 that is another $400,000 so we have $1 million available.”
Architectural work is continuing with specifications and a preliminary estimate of cost possible in the next two months.
“The local share is going to be at least a couple hundred thousand,” Schneider said. “But some of that could be eligible for 50 percent state funding.”
Even under the best funding scenario from the FAA and the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission some money will need to come from local funding sources.
At the August Airport Authority meeting the board authorized informational meeting with the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. and possibly other organizations to explore funding options and look for support.
“I would be all for it if they can resolve the financing problems,” said Pat Nygaard, Jamestown city council president. “They would need to stay within the current financing they get from the city.”
But even with some of the funding questions unresolved Klingenberg sees the project proceeding.
“Personally, I think we can do it,” he said. “We have a floor plan finalized, we have an exterior look picked, we’re working on the mechanical and floor covering options, if all goes well we could advertise for bids shortly after the first of the year.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org