The old terminal will be torn down starting tomorrow. Crews have been working for a month tearing out the old parking lot and repositioning security fencing behind the old terminal building. Once the building is torn into, it will be only days before there is nothing in the spot where passengers waited for their flights for almost 50 years. Built in 1963, the 7,400 square foot building was expanded four times and ended up at nearly 25,000 square feet. The terminal that replaced it last summer is over double that and has two floors.
Passenger growth is just one reason the old terminal had to be replaced. Results of a 2001 terminal study and operational assessment clearly suggested that the building was not sufficient to maintain current and future use. In early 2005, the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority authorized the design of a new terminal to be located betweent the general aviation area and the air cargo facility with new surface parking. The new terminal construction began in July of 2009 and opened its doors on August 30, 2011. From 2000 to 2009, passenger boardings were averaging around 88,000. In the years since, record numbers boarded planes at GFK: 117,855 in 2010; 118,984 in 2011; and they’re projecting another record this year.
The demolition of the once beloved terminal will be a bittersweet event for those who worked there for many years. The old building could now be thought of as “quaint”. The car rental agents were just an arm’s length away from the airline ticket agents and the ticket agents were even closer than that to the TSA agents. The camaraderie they used to have has all but faded in the new building, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happy with the spaciousness of the new terminal – the space was much needed. Besides that, the beautifully designed new terminal’s natural lighting, state-of-the-art technology, top notch grill & bar, and increased passenger traffic has been a welcome change to airport staff and passengers alike.
The old terminal served our community well, and although we hate to say goodbye, the time has come. Read more about the old terminal’s history on our website’s history page.