- Associated Press - Monday, April 28, 2014

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) - Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport is preparing to launch a series of improvements to its terminal.

Members of the Lawton Metropolitan Area Airport Authority, the airport’s governing body, directed airport staff Tuesday to proceed with design plans that will create new facilities within the airport’s secured boarding area and make improvements in other parts of the terminal.

Airport Manager Barbara McNally told The Lawton Constitution (http://bit.ly/1bmgJ2p) the $342,800 cited for design plan costs will include 60 percent of the work envisioned for the terminal as a whole and all the designs needed for improvements in the holding area, the secured area where passengers wait for flights after they have been through Transportation Safety Agency screening. No one is allowed in the area unless he or she has been screened, and those who leave the area must be rescreened before they can re-enter.

That’s why the improvements have been identified as a top priority in the airport’s long-range master plan, because screened passengers who want to use the restroom or get something to eat must leave the secured area to travel to another part of the terminal, then be re-screened by TSA agents before they come back into the area.

Planned improvements to the area include the addition of bathrooms, construction of a mechanical mezzanine above the bathrooms (to contain the heating and air conditioning units for the holding area) and a temporary hallway leading to the new facilities.

Additional work planned for the terminal as a whole includes work on the “meeter/greeter” area, where McNally said reinforcement work will be done to allow the removal of some existing columns; work on the front vestibule doors to improve energy efficiency; changes to the ticketing area; modifications to the terminal’s front canopy; and revisions to make the baggage claim area more streamlined.

McNally said federal funding will pay for the bulk of the work and, because the airport is expecting two federal grants in the same year, construction on the bathrooms and mezzanine could begin this summer.

She noted that the $342,800 engineering design costs is based on an estimated project cost of $2.5 million for the entire series of terminal-related work. And because the engineering contract totals more than $100,000, McNally - following regulations imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration - already has hired a second engineer to analyze the design work order to ensure cost estimates are accurate.

Design plans are expected to take 60 days, meaning the airport could be ready to let a construction contract by July, so the new bathrooms could be built this year, McNally said.

In other business, engineers also will be preparing design plans for 11,500 feet of fencing foundation for the airport perimeter.

McNally said the concrete foundation has been recommended in the wildlife management plan to control wildlife that keeps finding its way onto the airport property and causing problems for aircraft on the runway and taxiways.

Installing the concrete foundation will make it more difficult for animals to get into the airport property, McNally said, noting domestic animals are burrowing under the fencing on the north end of the airport property, while wild animals are burrowing under the fence on the south end of the runway.

___

Information from: The Lawton Constitution, http://www.swoknews.com