Renovations on the Springfield-Branson National Airport’s general aviation terminal are set to commence this summer after a couple of years of planning.
The airport’s governing board awarded the $5,845,256 construction contract for the terminal’s modernization and expansion to Springfield-based Nabholz Construction. In total, the project is costing the airport $6,727,371, which is paid for by the airport reserve funds.
The general aviation terminal is separate from the Roy Blunt Terminal, where, before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 90 percent of the airport’s passenger traffic boarded commercial flights. The general aviation terminal, which is considered a fixed-base operation, is operated by the airport itself, whereas in some cities it is outsourced to third-party vendors. To better distinguish the FBO from the rest of the airport, it is called Midwest Premier SGF.
While the terminal is only open to private plane traffic, it is a vital part of the airport’s revenue and serves some of Springfield’s biggest companies, including O’Reilly Auto Parts and Bass Pro Shops. In addition to loading and unloading VIPs onto private aircraft, it generates revenue from fueling and servicing those planes, accounting for about 16 percent of the airport’s total fuel sales in 2021.
Built in 1990, the general aviation terminal in its current state is too small for the current demand and, in some places, inefficient.
The renovation project dates back to April 2021, when the airport sought designs for a plan to get rid of a now-obsolete navigation and flight planning room, add more space to the crowded terminal and relocate the bathrooms.
The process was complicated due to the airport seeking a rehabilitation of an existing building rather than a complete rebuild, and an unorthodox contractor bidding process for airports. Springfield-based architecture firm Dake Wells was eventually selected to create the preliminary and final designs of the general aviation terminal.
As expressed by Brian Weiler, the director of aviation at the airport, in previous reporting by the Springfield Daily Citizen, a challenge remains in maintaining operations of the terminal while it undergoes renovations. According to a press release issued May 1, some services will be limited, but fueling and servicing for private aircraft will continue normally.
The project will expand the administration area and pilot lounge and add a large public community room at the general aviation terminal. The building’s footprint will nearly double in size, from 4,667 square feet to 8,923 square feet.
Construction on the project is estimated to take a year, setting up for a summer 2024 completion.