An expanded courtyard and consolidated security checkpoints are just some of the changes upcoming at Jacksonville International Airport. Officials broke ground Tuesday morning on the airport’s latest expansion project, which includes widening all three concourses.
by J. Brooks Terry
Taking a cue from the ongoing development and renovation projects around town, the Jacksonville Airport Authority broke ground Tuesday morning on a $25.5 million “airside expansion project” that will centralize security checkpoints and expand the concession and courtyard area of the main terminal when completed by October 2004.
The project serves as the first in a two-phase, airport concourse overhaul that carries a $245 million price tag.
“It has been our goal to make our airport more secure and customer focused,” said JAA spokesperson Michelle Branham who, while admitting the expansion will nicely complement the crowds coming in 2005, stressed it was “not for the Super Bowl” and that it will remain “long after the Super Bowl is gone.”
The most noticeable revision associated with the current project is the streamlining of JIA’s security checkpoints. Security stops currently located in the three concourses will be consolidated into one, which will be located near the Concourse B entrance.
JAA chief operating officer Chip Snowden said the checkpoint liquidation illustrates JAA’s commitment to a “more efficient airport.”
“We want to meet the needs of a growing community,” said Snowden. “When we’re finished here, it will benefit both the staff and the travelers at JIA.”
Following the completion of this phase of the project, work will begin on the elongation and widening of Concourses A, B and C. Work won’t begin until after the Super Bowl, but by 2008 — a “best case” says Snowden — more gates and concession options will be added and JAA is hoping to allow for larger aircraft spaces.
“We’ve already told the [Super Bowl Host Committee] that we will halt construction right around when the Super Bowl is in town,” said Snowden, “but we will probably be in a design phase at the time so we’ll still be able to make some much-needed progress.”