- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - The Dubuque Regional Airport’s new terminal is ready to open, six months ahead of schedule and about $3 million under budget.

Ground was broken on the nearly 36,000 square-foot project in 2012, and a grand opening for the terminal is scheduled on June 9, the Telegraph Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1Ol9NwK ).

The Federal Aviation Administration covered about 85 percent of the terminal’s $37 million cost. Airport revenue, the city and other grants covered the rest. The terminal was expected to cost about $40 million.

Airport manager Robert Grierson said the new terminal is three times bigger than the current facility and is designed to give travelers a more comfortable experience. He said space for additional security lanes and airline counters will permit growth in the future.

“We want this to be fully functional and usable 70 years from now, just like our existing terminal facility has served us for nearly 70 years,” Grierson said.

The old terminal was built in 1948 and was last remodeled in 1988. Its layout creates major congestion with Transportation Security Administration, baggage claim, rental car counters and greeter areas. The post-security holding area only had capacity for about 50 people.

“When they get into the lobby, they’ll find. … a flow that allows them to move clearly and smoothly through the terminal without congestion, and will easily be able to get through the TSA checkpoints into a very nice lounge that now holds about 175 people,” said Doug Brotherton, an airport commission member.

The new terminal includes a food service area with a sit-down bar and restaurant before travelers pass through security. Airport operations and maintenance supervisor Todd Dalsing said airport officials are negotiating with a food service provider to operate the kitchen. The secure side of the terminal includes a snack bar.

“The opportunity to have additional space and frequent fliers getting on easily - that people are able to use the airport more freely and more conveniently - should mean more people flying,” Brotherton said. “And, hopefully, the airlines will give us more service.”

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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