BOX Relocation of terminal would affect future development

By Matt Russell Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

The passenger terminal at Rochester International Airport could move to a new location on the property, a change that would have a major effect on how the airport develops in the future and how passengers get in and out.

The possible new terminal building, which could open in seven to 10 years, has been a central part of discussions as officials get ready to make the first updates to the airport’s master plan in 10 years.

The new building would be erected between the airport’s existing primary runway and a parallel runway that could be built in the next 30 to 50 years, according to David Nafie of Colorado-based Reynolds, Smith and Hills, Inc., a consultant who is the project manager for the airport’s master plan update.

The new terminal, which would sit south of the existing 55,000-square-foot terminal, would open land for more business development around the airport, said airport manager Steve Leqve.


At the same time, Nafie said, the new location would put the terminal in a better position to use the future runway while expanding options for cargo traffic and possible links to transit developments such as light rail.

The existing terminal, which was built in 1959, has been added onto four times over the years, resulting in rows of columns inside the building that restrict sight lines, Nafie said. Ticket counters and baggage claim areas on either end of the terminal, he added, resulting in "a big mixing bowl" of foot traffic.

"There’s a lot of crossing patterns and that’s not really optimal for a terminal design," he said.

Nafie gave presentations on Wednesday to two committees formed to provide input on the master plan update process. He included remodeling or rebuilding the terminal in its current location among the alternatives, but said the benefits of moving the terminal outweigh the benefits of keeping it in place.

At an evening meeting at Holiday Inn South, concerns included how roadways could be reconfigured to access the terminal in its possible new location. Nafie said he heard no strong opposition to the plan, He added that input at a public meeting tonight will also be considered before a final decision is made about what direction to go with the terminal plan.

More detailed information will be available in February, when the next round of meetings will be held about the master plan update, Nafie said. Updates to the airport’s 20-year master plan could be completed by summer, he added.

For more information on the Rochester International Airport, go to

Rochester International Airport


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A public workshop on updates to the Rochester International Airport’s 20-year master plan will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today at the Holiday Inn South in Rochester, 1630 S. Broadway.

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