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Gainesville Airport Expansion Approved

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The Gainesville Regional Airport is going to expand and improve its terminal.

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Bob Page, a board member, examines a damaged cable during the meeting. Cables connect the runway lights that guide pilots to land at night, but can become corroded mostly due to weather, Allan Penksa said. “We planned a replacement this year already, so we pushed it up by a month,” he said. (Alexandra Booth/WUFT News)

On March 24, the Gainesville-Alachua County Regional Airport Authority voted unanimously to hire AECOM, which will start the one-year process of designing the project. The authority signed a three-year contract with the company.

AECOM, which stands for architecture, engineering, construction, operations, and management, is an international architecture and project management firm.

The board said it considered three different companies and picked AECOM based on a point system and ranking firms by their written proposals, according to the meeting agenda.

“We went with the process, and the process led us to AECOM,” said Allan Penksa, airport CEO.

Construction won’t start until 2018 and there is no set deadline, according to Laura Aguiar, airport spokeswoman.

Aguiar said the airport has grown 4 percent since last year, and the idea is to keep growing.

“We were looking for someone to start the design, which will take (at least) a year,” Aguiar said.

In a tentative blueprint, the airport shows building a west concourse, raising the platform and bringing it to a mezzanine level. This would accommodate more fuel-effective jets, Aguiar said.

She said she imagines during construction there may be some things affected, but the effects cannot be determined until that time comes.

The airport will also continue working on some maintenance and improvement projects for the grounds, like replacing the wire cable for the runway lights, Penksa said.

About Alexandra Booth

Alexandra is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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