Wichita Moves Forward with Design of New Terminal

The Wichita City Council voted Tuesday to go ahead with the design phase for a new $150 million airport terminal.

The vote also authorized city staff to hire a manager for the project at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

The managing company could be paid as much as $3 million, airport director Bailis Bell said, because a project manager typically receives 2 percent of the total costs of the project.

The design phase could begin in January or February and take two years, city officials say.

The council has indicated support for building a new terminal rather than renovating and expanding the existing 50-year-old airport at a cost of $130.4 million.

Renovating the existing building would take two years longer than building a new one and would be difficult to execute while operations are under way in a terminal that already is too small, according to architects hired by the city.

A new terminal would be financed by federal grants, passenger facility charges, concession and parking revenue, and airline rental fees.

The council won't vote on whether to build a new terminal until planning has been completed and the public has been given a chance to comment.

If the council approves a new terminal, construction would begin in January 2007, and the terminal would open in October 2009.

The proposed terminal would be two stories and sit west of the existing terminal.

Access improvements include adding a two-tier roadway to and from the building by separating auto and foot traffic, according to the architects.