McALLEN — Work on McAllen-Miller International Airport’s $28 million terminal expansion project, which will add 55,000 square feet and overhaul existing space, recently passed the halfway mark.
The two-year project remains on schedule for completion next March, said Airport Director Phil Brown.
As part of the project, construction workers knocked down the terminal’s south wall and built a temporary partition. They’ll move the wall farther into the terminal within the next few months, temporarily reducing the waiting area for passengers, said Kristi Taylor-Salinas, the airport’s properties and compliance manager.
“It’ll be tight for six to eight weeks,” Taylor-Salinas said.
Afterward, though, McAllen-Miller will have a larger terminal with more post-security food options, new seats with outlets to recharge electronic devices and a family restroom. Extra space will allow the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint to handle crowds by opening an additional screening lane.
Along with construction work, the City Commission also rebid airport concessions and approved a deal with Edinburg-based D&M Coffee Co. — the company that owns Coffee Zone — on June 10. Under the arrangement, D&M Coffee would open a pre-security food and beverage kiosk and a post-security gourmet coffee bar.
D&M Coffee also will operate the new, post-security airport bar.
When McAllen-Miller first considered expanding the terminal, city officials reviewed a plan to add three gates and 95,000 square feet. San Francisco-based URS Corp., an engineering and construction firm, estimated the project would cost $57.3 million.
Since 2002, passenger boarding numbers had steadily increased, according to Federal Aviation Administration data. So-called “enplanements” at McAllen-Miller peaked in 2007, when about 413,000 people boarded flights.
When the recession hit, enplanements dropped sharply and continued falling for the next five years. In 2011, about 332,000 people boarded planes at McAllen-Miller, according to the latest numbers from the federal agency’s website.
In response, McAllen scaled back plans to expand the terminal. The “right-sized” plan now under construction will cost an estimated $28 million and largely focuses on adding space and overhauling the terminal. It’ll also add a gate, allowing McAllen-Miller to handle six planes.
The Monitor article headlined “Terminal progress” in the June 24 edition on page 1A incorrectly stated the company responsible for the new, post-security airport bar. D&M Coffee, not American Food and Beverages, will operate the bar.
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