Airport completion project for concourse expansion in hopes of funding

Airport completion project for concourse expansion in hopes of funding

Airport completion project for concourse expansion in hopes of funding

June 17, 2024

A plan to add at least five gates to the Sioux Falls Regional Airport is moving closer to reality.

“We’re in the final stages of designing the project as to what it’s going to look like,” said executive director Dan Letellier. “Nothing will happen if we don’t have a design, so we have a design ready.”

The airport also continues to identify which contractor will serve as the construction manager at risk for the project, in addition to working with the Federal Aviation Administration to approve the process, he said.

Bringing an at-risk construction manager on board will “help with the final design and maybe give some construction ideas as to what some savings might provide,” Letellier said. “We’re hoping to get some work done next summer, but that’s really going to depend on some of the federal programs coming up later this year or this fall before they make funding announcements.”

The current design assumes a net gain of five gates with the option to add a sixth if the budget allows.

“The basic design would basically provide a lobby and those five gates and a set of restrooms, so very bare bones minimally, but it would get us the five gates,” Letellier said.

If the bidding came in favorably enough and there was enough funding available, the project could expand to add “a large open atrium area with lots of additional seating and additional food, beverage and retail options to it goes along with it,” he said.

If an additional gate could be added, it would also have the option of accommodating an international flight, with a finished area “for federal inspection to fully process international flights,” Letellier said. “That’s the goal, but obviously there’s a lot in between to make it happen.”

Letellier said he believes the airport will receive “federal funding” and use revenue bonds to cover the base cost. There are several federal grants and programs that can be accessed, he said, in addition to applying for some congressionally designated spending.

The plan also is to continue working with the South Dakota Legislature, which has appropriated $10 million for terminal needs statewide this year, “which is $10 million more than the state has ever provided.” , he said. “So we’ll run some more.”

Meanwhile, the airport is on pace for another record year, with passenger traffic up 3% in the year to April on last year’s record journeys. There are slightly more spots available for reservation this summer than last, Letellier said.

The airport’s new parking ramp and skywalk “are getting closer every day,” he added. “The garage itself may open in mid-September.”

Some additional long-term surface parking is also likely to reopen in the coming month as construction begins to wrap up.

This is the only major construction planned at the airport this season.

Construction of the concourse extension and adjacent terminal platform is expected to take 18 to 24 months, he said. It is necessary both to accommodate airport growth and to remain competitive for expanding flights.

“It’s a challenge right now to grow a lot without additional gates,” he said. “So our next goal is to try to have more capacity.”