Although the view still is a bit hazy, Williamsport Regional Airport officials like how the airport's new terminal building project is taking shape.
On Wednesday, the authority hosted a public meeting in which a consulting team made a recommendation as to the size and location of the new terminal.
The consulting team - primary consultants Rettew Associates Inc., and partners Delta Airport Consultants - determined the terminal should be built just east of the present terminal, between the terminal and a hangar maintained by De Gol Jet Center.
The L-shaped, two-story building should have about 35,000 square feet of floor space, compared to the present terminal's 27,000 square feet.
The meeting was held at the former state police hangar at the airport. A wall of the hangar was covered with drawings and photographs created from two days of interviews with politicians, Chamber of Commerce officials, airport tenants, local businesses, airport users and the general public.
It was clear during the interview process that the area is interested in and excited about the prospect of having a new airport terminal.
Rohn Price, director of architecture for Delta Airport Consultants, said more people offered to provide input on the project than any other he has been involved with in more than 25 years. The input from those people directly impacted building footprint concept and four building location options created by the consulting team, he said.
A recommendation was made after each option was evaluated in 27 different areas, David Jones, Delta vice president and Harrisburg office director, said.
No stone was left unturned in the quest to gain input for the project.
"It was a very thoughtful process," said Laura Templeton, principal in charge for Rettew Associates Inc.
"It was a grueling 2 1/2 days," Thomas Hart, airport executive director said. "They were meeting with everyone, from the authority and politicians to the Chamber of Commerce and the local community."
Hart said he believes the recommended choice is the right one.
The new terminal, at 35,000-square-feet, will be able to accommodate all of the airport's needs, plus be flexible to handle change and expandable to handle growth.
The lobby will be much larger than the current terminal and have room for displays of local attractions and businesses. Airline ticket counter space will be doubled and modern baggage-handling systems installed. The holding area will accommodate 150 people and offer refreshments and restroom facilities, neither of which the current terminal offers.
The second floor of the proposed terminal will contain the airport restaurant and administrative suites. There will be abundant views of the airfield and mountains beyond them from both floors, Price said.
The airport will be fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
Many things have to happen before the recommendations can acted upon, authority Chairman Mark Murawski said.
Regulatory agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration must sign off on the recommendations. Environmental studies also have to be performed before work can begin, he said.
Still, the project is on an "aggressive schedule," he said. That schedule must be maintained for the authority to take advantage of funding opportunities, some of which require projects to begin within a certain time frame to be eligible for the funds, he said.
That mean the authority "needs to get shovels in the ground by June, 29, 2013," said Templeton.
According to Murawski, there are no time constraints on when the project is finished. However, he expects it to be completed in the spring of 2014.
The estimated $13.6 million project initially included the construction of a new air traffic control tower, but bureaucratic red tape associated with that project would delay it too long, he said.
The current tower will be maintained and possibly replaced later, he said.