Nathan Thompson AVIATION PROS
Rapid City Regional Airport Expansion Project Planning Begins
March 9, 2022
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  • Rapid City Regional Airport is one step closer to realizing an expansion and renovation project after the Airport Board of Directors on Tuesday approved nearly $6.8 million for design and engineering services for the plan.

    The contract was awarded to Mead & Hunt, a Wisconsin architectural and engineering firm with offices in Rapid City to provide the design services and prepare bidding documents for the construction project. The contract is worth $6,797,397.

    Plans call for the airport terminal to be renovated and expanded in four phases. Phase A would address needs with the ticketing counter area and baggage systems. Phase B would expand and renovate the concourse. Phase C would expand the security checkpoint area. Phase D would build an addition to the rental car and baggage claim areas.

    According to an initial study from April 2021, the airport terminal plan is projected to cost between $67 million and $94 million.

    Airport Executive Director Patrick Dame said the majority of funding for the design and engineering phase and the actual construction project itself will come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants from the Federal Aviation Administration.

    “First and foremost is the competitive part of the BIL Infrastructure Terminal Grant. As part of this, we are going to apply for the BIL Infrastructure Terminal Grant with the design aspect,” Dame said. “We will start out with reserve funding to get the project underway. The application process will move on through.”

    Dame said if the competitive grant funding is not available for the design of the terminal, the airport will be able to use the “normal” federal funding under the BIL and AIP grants. In general, the funding matches from local and state sources would vary between 5% and 10%, he said.

    Part A of the project work would include doubling the space for ticketing counters and secure baggage screening/transport. The public-facing ticketing counter area would be renovated and new offices would be built for the airlines. The plans show the outbound baggage screening area would replaced with a larger facility that would allow for faster processing of bags and transport to awaiting aircraft.

    Part B includes the most extensive area of expansion and renovation that the traveling public will see. It includes renovating approximately 26,260-square-feet of the concourse and adding approximately 24,000-square-feet for new gates. The planned expansion will increase Rapid City Regional Airport’s gate capacity to 10 from the current seven and allow the airport to accommodate larger aircraft better — such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus 321 — while not straining capacity for the smaller regional jets.

    Part C includes renovation and expansion for the Transportation Security Administration’s checkpoint. The plan calls for three screening areas, rather than the existing two, and a relocation of the secure exit lane.

    Part D includes adding approximately 2,800-square-feet to the rental car area in the terminal and another 6,000-square-feet to the baggage carousel area — allowing for three baggage claims instead of two, and upgrades to the baggage delivery system.

    The design, engineering and bidding phase is expected to take no more than 68 weeks. If all stays on schedule, the phase will be completed by the end of spring 2023, with construction work proceeding after that point.