SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — While the city of Springfield is investing millions into making Springfield a more attractive place to live and work, the airport is turning its focus to a space much of the public never sees.
Citing a need for more space, the Springfield-Branson National Airport is working towards a six-million-dollar plan to expand and renovate the General Aviation terminal.
General Aviation is a terminal reserved for private and corporate jets. While the main airport got a facelift in 2009, the General Aviation building was built in the 1990s, and hasn’t seen much change since.
“It doesn’t have the infrastructure for things like the computers that people want now, the power for the phones, for the computers,” says Airport spokesman Kent Boyd. “It doesn’t have room for the food choices that people want. When it gets crowded with passengers coming in and there’s not enough room, so it just really needs to be expanded and spruced up.”
Boyd says there’s also plumbing issues within the building. The project would accommodate more restrooms, food options, and space for staff.
Currently, some employees only have the option of spending down time in their cars or a mobile trailer.
While the inside is welcoming, airport spokesman Kent Boyd says improvements are also needed to make a good first impression on those flying in and out.
He says the investment could pay off by sparking more economic growth.
“It’s one of those things where it’s out of sight and out of mind for most people,” says Boyd. “But it’s really important, because a lot of people who make decisions about what goes on in Springfield come through the doors of this building. You want it to look good because you want to make a good impression.”
Boyd says those who fly in and out of General Aviation tend to be movers and shakers of Springfield business.
Beautifying the first space those visitors see ties in with the City of Springfield’s plans to provide more quality of place along Springfield’s main corridors.
This project, however, will be paid for by airport funds alone, according to Boyd.
“We’re essentially run like a business. We have to generate our own revenue. In fact, that’s what General Aviation does. It generates revenue for the airport, and it will, in fact, pay for itself.”
While the plans are still in the early stages, the airport says it hopes to complete the project by the end of 2023.