Horry County officials on Friday announced talks with Charlotte, N.C.-based Southside Constructors for the planned renovation of the old terminal at Myrtle Beach International Airport.
The renovation of the old terminal was planned as the new $118 million, 274,000-square-foot terminal opened in 2013. The need for more gates is already there, Horry County officials said, but the added gates will come in handy for what airport officials are hearing will be a “really good season” in 2015.
“We are anticipating, what we hear from the airlines, is we’re going to have a really good season next year and that we’ll be using gates 3 and 4,” said Pat Apone, director of the Horry County Department of Airports.
Financial terms on the project have not been reached.
Plans call for the two renovated gates to be able to be closed off to the new terminal when not in use.
“We wanted to be able to close it off and save on the airline rates and charges,” Apone said.
Construction is slated to start on the new gates in January with an estimated completion by the end of April.
Kimberly Massie, procurement director for Horry County, said Southside Constructors was the highest ranked firm out of the four proposals the county received. An evaluation committee reviewed the companies based on several criteria: technical approach, its experience, its expertise, its previous contract performance, its ability to meet tight schedules and location of its firm.
“Southside was the unanimous decision of the evaluation committee,” Massie said.
Massie said Southside will work on the new gates, parking lot improvements and facade work.
“We’re going to do it in phases,” she said.
For a while, the debate on what to do with the 21,500-square-foot former ticket lobby centered around the differing views of vocal Horry County officials and members of the Myrtle Beach Community Appearance Board.
County officials wanted to see the ticketing area of the old terminal come down, while CAB members wanted to ensure the old terminal’s facade complemented the new terminal. The county’s administration committee went as far as voting in August 2013 to tear it down. But, county officials have since learned that it could not be torn down because moving around a fiber optic cable that leads to the new terminal would be cost prohibitive.
The airport has been working to update and improve its campus, which included a $2.1 million parking lot improvement project that recently added 575 parking spaces to the credit card parking lot.
A $20 million runway rehabilitation project also is underway and should be completed by Ohio-based Anthony Allega Cement Contractor by the spring. Myrtle Beach has one runway, which spans 9,500 feet.
Chris Eldridge, county administrator, said the improvements couldn’t come at a better time.
“Even if we were static, there’s a need to renovate these old gates. It’s not really tied to increased traffic,” Eldridge said. “From Day 1, we knew we had to get the new terminal built and we would have to come back and renovate the old gates. During peak times, we have to hustle to juggle planes around and get them in to what we have.”