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(Janesville, WI) By Neil Johnson, Gazette

When work at the terminal at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport is finished, it’ll be a showpiece for anyone flying in and out of Rock County, airport director Ron Burdick said.

“When they come to the new terminal building, coming into the airport—it’ll be like a new gateway to our community,” Burdick said.

Right now, the planned “gateway,” a four-year project at the airport, is about half finished. Exterior work on demolition and rebuilding of the west side of the terminal—phase 1 of the project—was completed earlier this year.

Now, crews from Burlington-based Scherer Construction are working on the addition of a new kitchen area on the east side of the terminal, adjacent to space that for years has housed restaurants at the airports.

Crews also are busy revamping the exterior of the terminal, adding energy efficient windows, a new façade and a new roof.

Burdick said the current phase of the project was slated to wrap up in late December, but work is running a few weeks behind schedule. Phase 2 is now has a completion date in mid- January. He said the delay stems from a lag in construction supplies, including finishing material for the terminal’s new windows.

Burdick said phase 2 is on course to hit its $1.25 million budget.

The whole project, which will span 2014, is estimated to cost about $3.7 million. Rock County and the state are sharing costs for the terminal revamp. Burdick said the county’s share of the whole project is about $900,000.

The terminal was built in the 1950s and is not energy-efficient or fully compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, Burdick said.

“We’ve had a plan to address those issues, and this work will meet all those requirements,” including plans for new restrooms on the east and west sides of the terminal that will be fully handicap accessible, Burdick said.

About 57,000 flights a year go in and out of the airport at 4004 S. Oakhill Ave., Janesville.

Next year, the project will move forward with a pilot’s lounge, administrative offices and a conference room on the new west side of the terminal.

On the east side, where the new kitchen is being built, crews will build out an interior shell for a new kitchen and the existing restaurant space.   

That work hinges largely on state funding, which might not come through until July 2014, Burdick said.

The airport plans to leave finishing work in the restaurant and kitchen space for a potential tenant to handle.

“We’ll have four walls and floor. We’ll have everything stubbed out and they (a tenant) would be completing it at that point,” Burdick said.

A later project, which is separate from the building work, includes upgrades to the terminal parking lot and landscaping. That work could cost the county about $100,000, Burdick said.

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