40-something airport gets makeover

Rochester International Airport may be getting older — but Manager Steve Leqve thinks it’s getting better and more customer-friendly for the 300,000 or so patrons who pass through its portals each year.

The airport and its terminal may be 45 years old, but a series of improvements — both inside and outside the main facility "certainly should make it easier for the traveling public to use our airport, plus enhance its longevity," said Leqve.

Many of the improvements, particularly inside the Mark G. Brataas terminal — named after an early supporter of airport facilities here — were made earlier in the year.

Collectively adding up to a $1 million-plus in cost, some of the more notable projects included the addition of a second passenger security checkpoint lane, a rest-room remodeling project, which cost $400,000, and an update on all four airport elevators to bring them in compliance with changing disability requirements.

New projects, either already completed or nearing completion, are costing an estimated $3.5 million-plus. Most important to the traveling public is a 200-car expansion to the airport’s parking lot, enlarging its capacity to 700 spaces. The entire lot, north and northwest of the terminal, also was seal-coated and to make it more "customer-friendly." Credit-card receptacles also have been installed, Leqve said.


A significant rehabilitation of the main terminal drive also is completed, which includes seal-coating, installation of new signs — including "Welcome" and "Thank You" signs — and the planting of dozens of trees and shrubs "to dress up our grounds," said Leqve. Barriers on the lot that separate it from roadways and passengers also have been made more decorative.

Other enhancements include rehabilitation of the exterior of the air traffic control building, the installation of a bituminous overlay at the general aviation apron and the replacement of the roofing at the main terminal.

One other project — vital to the airport’s future — is being considered in addition to the construction enhancements. That’s the development of Master Plan II that will guide the airport’s development over the next 20 years.

Mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the plan is being formulated by a committee of some 30 area city and county officials and interested citizens. The plan, once the committee makes its recommendations, will be subject to public comment before action by local governing bodies and the FAA. This process likely will take a year or so, said Leqve.

Cost of the various airport projects is being covered by state and federal grants, plus some $1.1 million in profits that have been generated by Rochester Airport Co., which manages the airport.

Here and there

• An exhibit showcasing items buried in the Egyptian tomb of King Tut is back in the United States. "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" has opened at the Dallas Museum of Art, the first of three museums to host the exhibit’s encore tour. The other host cities have yet to be named. At least 1 million visitors are expected in Dallas.

The exhibit, which features 130 objects, has been on display previously in the U.S., and two tours in 11 cities have attracted a total of 11 million people. We viewed the exhibit some years ago, when it was displayed in New Orleans and also saw it displayed at the National Museum in Cairo. It is intensely interesting.


• The National Park Service is considering converting one of the buildings on Alcatraz island into a hotel or hostel for park visitors, notes Travel Weekly. The island in San Francisco Bay, which housed one of the world’s most infamous prisons, has become one of the areas most popular tourist attractions, luring about 1.5 million visitors a year.

Bob Retzlaff is travel editor of the Post-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 285-7704 or by e-mail at

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