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Gainesville Regional Airport debuts new terminal expansion

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 5:22 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Nearly $16 million was poured into the terminal expansion project at Gainesville Regional Airport and it took nearly a decade to get to opening day.

15,200 square feet of expansion at the airport features new boarding gates, hundreds of new seats with charging ports and even space for a future food vendor.

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More than 100 guests invited for the expansion’s ribbon-cutting include Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr., Gainesville city commissioners, Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper and state senator Keith Perry.

“I’m so glad we’re gathering to celebrate and as I said I wish we could have opened it up to the whole community because this is their airport,” said Gainesville Regional Airport Public Relations Manager, Erin Porter. “We’re proud, we think we’re worthy of this amazing facility.”

Ground broke on the project during the pandemic but finished ahead of schedule and under budget according to the airport CEO, Allan Penska.

“We were able to work around the clock pretty much on it and the other nice thing is that when people do return to traveling, we call them “Vaxacations”,” added Porter. “Once people are vaccinated a lot of them are taking trips to see family members they haven’t seen for a long time, they’re going to come to this beautiful, new, bright, sleek, convenient, gorgeous airport.”

The multi-million dollar expansion was largely funded by an FAA airport improvement grant and completely constructed by North Central Florida workers.

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“This is sort of a hometown feel for me if you will,” said Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr. He was joined by nearly every construction worker who contributed to the project as the new terminal was unveiled.

“We have an airport that is expanding, that has the capability to house those and create those transportation needs that will get people to and from Gainesville, said Watson. “This is an opportunity to do this here at home without having to leave for a transportation opportunity when it comes to our airways.”

The event featured live music, food and drinks and a custom Gainesville airport cake.

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