Old Terminal Update

If you’ve been to the airport recently you would certainly have noticed that things are starting to look a little different.  The old terminal, a constant reminder of the past, is quickly disappearing to make way for the future.

We’ve gotten many questions over the past few months as to “what will become of the space” or “why couldn’t you re-purpose the space.”  All of which are valid questions.

Following the events of 9/11, the cost to renovated and expand what is now the old terminal building where not cost effective.  Since that time, the airport authority has worked with a number of real estate and economic development agencies to find a new use for the space.  However, its location adjacent to an active airfield, airline mergers and bankruptcies, increasing energy costs and the worldwide economic recession all contributed to making the re-use of the facility difficult.  So over the past two years the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA) has worked with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to come up with a demolition and potential site plan for development.  Here are answers to some of the questions we’ve received:

What will it become?

The airport will construct a snow equipment storage building on a portion of the property; however, the bulk of the property becomes available for aviation related development.  Aviation related development could include items like a hangar, a repair and maintenance operation, fixed based operator, etc.  To assist with these efforts, in December 2013, the old terminal building location was deemed a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ).  This means a business that chooses to build or re-locate to this space will have various levels of tax abatement through 2024.  The KOZ application was sponsored by the Dauphin County Industrial Development Authority and the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation in cooperation with the Middletown Area School District, the Steelton-Highspire School District, Lower Swatara Township and the Boroughs of Middletown and Highspire.

What is happening with the demolition materials?

Since late December, the contractor has removed and disposed of universal wastes such as fluorescent light bulbs, mercury switches, oils from elevators, fuel lines from an emergency generator, and closed a deep aquifer well.  Two-200 ton chillers and five gas fired boilers from a mechanical room have also been removed.  All materials and equipment have been disposed in compliance with current environmental rules and regulations.  Materials being recycled include the copper telecommunications cables and over 360 tons of steel from throughout the building.  The contractor will also recycle crushed concrete from the terminal and reuse it to backfill the excavation site.

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What can we expect to see when the building is removed?

Once the building is removed and the site is backfilled, the contractor leave behind a level area of approximately 5 acres covered with asphalt.  The surrounding areas will be landscaped and adorned with planters and benches for plane spotting until further development begins.  All of this should be completed by fall 2014.

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How much will the project cost?

The total cost of the project is $1.8 million.  The project is funded by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Aviation, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development and SARAA.

Make sure you follow our progress on our Facebook page and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.  Better yet, mark your calendar for Saturday, August 23rd for our 2014 HIA Open House.   You and your family will be able to see the site for yourself while getting hands on experience with a wide variety of aircraft and airport equipment.