Midfield Terminal Two-Thirds Complete
Construction of the Midfield
Terminal Complex at Southwest Florida International Airport is
two-thirds completed and on schedule for opening in spring 2005.
The $438 million project includes a 798,000-square-foot terminal, a
new taxiway and related roadways.
As of early May, the structural work and roof installation on
Concourse B – one of three concourses – had been
completed, and installation of baggage-conveyor belts and terminal
windows was 50 percent complete. Terrazzo flooring is being
installed in the baggage-claim area, and permanent electric power
will be activated in parts of the building this month.
Construction of the three-story parking garage is 70 percent
complete, and light fixtures are being installed. Paving of the
Site preparation for the project began in February 2002 south of
the airport’s runway. Significant modifications were made to
accommodate new passenger- and baggage-screening procedures,
mandated by the Transportation Security Administration after the
original design was completed. A larger, more complex
baggage-handling system was added, the terminal was expanded by
27,000 square feet to accommodate the new system, and space was
added at passenger-screening checkpoints.
"It was a challenge to adjust the terminal design to accommodate
new security measures, but we’re fortunate to be able to
build this terminal for a new era of air travel,” said Robert
M. Ball, A.A.E., executive director of the Lee County Port
DMJM Aviation Inc., the firm that is managing the design and
construction of the Midfield Terminal Complex, worked with airport
officials, airlines, rental car agencies, regulatory agencies and
other stakeholders early in the project’s design process.
Surveys of passengers, airport visitors, and airline and airport
staff helped shape the new facility.
A primary consideration was passenger convenience. Walking
distances have been minimized, the number of parking spaces is
being doubled, and the number of seats in waiting areas is being
The two-story terminal will be accessed by a dual roadway system
that will allow departing passengers to be dropped off at the
upper-level curb and arriving passengers to be picked up on the
lower level. The upper level will include ticket counters, security
clearance areas, aircraft gates, restaurants and shops. Baggage
claim facilities will be located on the ground floor.
The parking garage, located directly across from the terminal,
will provide 2,200 hourly parking spaces and will house rental car
facilities, eliminating the need for rental car shuttles. The
9,800-space, long-term parking lot and the 1,300-space employee
parking area will be served by shuttles.
The terminal will open with 28 aircraft gates. An incremental
expansion design will provide long-term flexibility, cost
efficiencies and the potential for a total of 65 gates. T-shaped
extensions can be added to the concourses to provide additional
gates – a few at a time or several – and there is space
for two more concourses. In addition, two floors of parking can be
added to the garage building.
An innovative approach to environmental preservation helped the
Port Authority secure the permits required for the project. An
off-site mitigation park, east of the airport, is preserving 7,000
acres of pristine, environmentally sensitive land, including the
largest freshwater marsh in Lee County.
Existing areas have been restored and preserved, exotic
vegetation has been removed, and new habitat is being created.
Empty farmlands were excavated to create 400 to 500 acres of
wetlands, and other land has been modified to return it to its
original, natural state. The project not only has restored flow
ways for surface water, but also has created an exclusive
environment for wildlife preservation.
The Midfield Terminal Complex project is being funded with
grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Florida
Department of Transportation; airline rents and fees; and other
airport revenue, including bonds. No ad valorem (property) taxes
are used for airport operation or construction.
Southwest Florida International Airport opened in May 1983. The
original master plan projected that the airport would reach its
capacity of 3 million passengers by 1995, but that number actually
was reached in 1988 -– seven years earlier than predicted.
The airport has served more than 5 million passengers annually
since 2000. The new terminal, which will replace the existing
terminal building, will have the capacity for 10 million passengers