Officials unveil $92 million expansion of Will Rogers World Airport

Thursday, December 16th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The terminal at Will Rogers World Airport there will be 70 percent bigger after an estimated $92 million expansion airport, officials say. The Oklahoma City Airport Trust reviewed final plans Wednesday for the increase in the number of gates at the terminal from 16 to 25 and allow twice as many people to board planes there.

The expansion could allow development as a mini-hub. The design would straighten out the terminal by adding to the front and rear of the existing building, said design team head Lance Benham. He said it would also remove existing concourses and add two new ones to the east and west. "We wanted to maintain the positive aspects of the existing terminal, like its quick-in, quick-out character," Benham said. "We wanted to open things up, giving a feeling of openness and light." "The result is a design that maximizes passenger-visitor convenience and captures the character and images of the city and state," said Airport Director Luther Trent.

About 3.4 million people traveled through the airport in 1998.There are a total of 75 daily departures at the airport. "There's always a possibility of a mini-hub in the future -- a break off from one of the major hubs to a less congested location here," Trent said. "We can expand to meet the needs of a mini-hub any time." Economic developer W. Andrew Burke said the improvements will make corporate recruitment easier. "An attractive airport environment puts things in a positive perspective." he said.

Final building plans are expected to be complete and put out forbid by next summer. The City Council must approve a bond issue to pay for the construction. The loan would be paid over 20 years by tenants at the airport. Actual construction is expected to last three to five years. Benham said no service interruptions are expected during the work. Dividing walls will hide most of the work of the three-phase project.