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AVL shares sneak peek of new terminal design

More room to accommodate projected growth, five more gates, expanded aircraft parking and a concessions space makeover are part of a terminal design under way Asheville Regional Airport.

Architects Gresham Smith began working with AVL nearly 18 months ago. The airport released a sneak peek of a few of the design concepts this week.

The design project, nearly fully funded by Federal Aviation Administration grant funds, is part of the strategic long-term planning and growth of the airport, and will result in detailed plans for an expanded and modernized airport that will serve the air service needs of western North Carolina for decades into the future. When the design is complete, the airport board will determine when the project will proceed forward.

“A design project like this takes 18 months to two years to complete,” said AVL Executive Director Lew Bleiweis. “We began the process more than a year ago, at a time when our passenger numbers were far exceeding the existing capacity of our terminal building at peak times. A new larger terminal is necessary to keep up with the demand – our growth is already returning.”

The design process began with many stakeholder meetings, both with the internal airport team and with community leaders, as well as a large community survey with more than 4,000 responses. Goals of a new terminal design include:

  • More space to accommodate existing and future growth projections
  • Expansion from 7 to 12 gates with ample room for passenger flow
  • Additional aircraft parking space
  • Expanded and modernized ticket lobby, TSA screening, baggage claim, concessions space
  • A centralized power plant
  • Flexibility in design to allow for enhancements and innovations as air travel evolves
  • Thoughtful design, guided by community, employee and key stakeholder input

An overarching design principle has guided decisions throughout the process: to create a modern gateway, humbly rooted in timeless natural beauty.

“This design principle was a direct result of engagement with the local community, stakeholders, airport vendors and many others,” said Brad Sucher, Senior Architect and Project Manager at Gresham Smith. “And we currently are transforming these meanings into images that help lay the framework for AVL to represent the western North Carolina region. It is exciting to begin sharing these concepts.”