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Newstrack: Eastern Iowa Airport project halfway done

The oculus in a new area of the terminal at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
The oculus in a new area of the terminal at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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BACKGROUND

CEDAR RAPIDS — Facing almost monthly growth in its passenger count, The Eastern Iowa Airport in early 2017 approved a more than $30 million contract for the third phase of its terminal renovation project.

Plans for the 54,000-square-foot addition include two new jet bridges, expanded concessions and hold rooms, and the addition of an outdoor patio.

What’s more, it also included an expanded Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, including a precheck lane, more post-security concession options and the ability to order food and beverages from anywhere in the post-security area.

Also included is a geothermal system for heating and cooling.

The plan also included the installation of about 740 solar panels on the terminal roof — equivalent to about 240 kilowatts, or enough to power 21 homes per year.

WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE

With the recent completion of an oculus skylight, new escalators, a stairwell and a glass elevator, Phase 3 is about half complete, Airport Director Marty Lenss said.

Work left on the phase includes temporarily relocating the security checkpoint for updates, removing the old escalators, adding larger bathrooms and a mother’s lounge, and building a restaurant and coffee kiosk, he said.

Lenss added that, while the project originally was slated for a spring completion, it is not expected to be finished until summer.

All in all, the project has been moving along smoothly, he said.

Design and planning for Phase 4 has begun, but Lenss has said it’s possible added traffic and aircraft size at the airport — that wasn’t foreshadowed in the 2014 master planning process — could force updates to the plan.

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Lenss has said parking needs will continue to be evaluated, but at this point a parking deck is not planned.

In addition to passenger growth, the airport also has seen cargo operations expand.

To address freight needs, the airport earlier this year broke ground on a more than $10 million overhaul of the airport’s cargo facilities.

• Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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