- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Baton Rouge leaders have unveiled a $12.5 million overhaul of Metro Airport.

The new 14,500-square-foot rotunda area features all the trappings of a busy, modern airport.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1fPMlRR ) other improvements include: floor-to-ceiling windows, decorative terrazzo floor tiles and a power outlet for every seat in the waiting areas.

“The airport has come a long way,” said William Daniel, chief administrative officer for Mayor Kip Holden. “It’s such a beautiful facility.”

The Transportation Security Administration checkpoint has been moved to the rotunda expansion, freeing up space in the original rotunda where visitors without tickets can wait for arriving passengers.

Airport Director Anthony Marino said Tuesday the shift was needed because safety restrictions implemented after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks had limited access to the original rotunda to ticketed passengers.

“The atrium areas were designed for (unticketed guests). We weren’t able to fully use those facilities,” Marino said. “We had to try to find a way to cure that problem.”

Improvements include new carpet and paint throughout the airport, new restrooms and eateries and a new gift shop.

Baton Rouge’s airport is home to four major carriers that fly to five non-stop destinations and connections, including Atlanta, Memphis and Charlotte.

It serves about a million passengers a year.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com