Tallahassee Regional Comes of Age With Face-Lift

The Tallahassee Regional Airport is getting a makeover. New signs have been installed, bathrooms are being refurbished, boarding bridges have been repaired - and this is just the beginning.

The renovations are part of a $50 million capital program that will also include improvements to the runway/ taxiway, stormwater management and the baggage claim carousels.

About 75 new signs have been installed to help commuters find their way through the Ivan Munroe Terminal building. Michael Clow said it was time for a change to the airport, which handled 1,155,072 passengers last year.

"The building is 15 years old and has seen a significant number of people pass through it," said Clow, the airport capital program administrator. "This is something that we have had in the works for probably a year and a half. "

The $100,000 Wayfinding and Signage Project helped the airport install signs in English and Spanish, featuring new logos and internationally known symbols.

Some of the signs even have Braille and bring the airport in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA requires all public buildings to have Braille signs at a standard position, height and location close to openings so they can be located easily by vision- impaired travelers.

The new signs are part of a Florida Department of Transportation grant and the rest is coming out of airport funds.

New restroom facilities are also part of the many airport upgrades. The "Restroom Renovation Project" costs about $1.2 million. The project renovates the bathrooms that have not been upgraded since the airport opened in 1989. After renovations, Clow said the bathrooms will basically be brand new.

"We are refurbishing the facilities, they were just worn out," he said. "They are getting new floors, new walls, new fixtures and new partitions. They were showing their age."

The restroom renovations are being paid for through a grant from the FDOT and the rest is coming from the passenger facility charge of $4.50 per ticket. The charge is applied to every ticket purchased for travel to or from the airport.

Clow said the airport is well into the second phase of bathroom renovations. Two sets of the refurbished bathrooms are open for use. Renovation of the second-floor bathroom on the public side and the bathroom in the A concourse have been completed. The bathrooms in the center concourse next to security should be open by the end of July. The concourse B bathrooms should be finished by mid-to-late August.

There are signs directing commuters to areas where bathrooms are available.

Along with the money spent on new signs and refurbished bathrooms, the airport has also upgraded its boarding bridges. Boarding bridges are used to transport passengers between the airplane and the airport terminal. The bridges were also paid for with a FDOT grant and the passenger facility charge.

"We brought two new bridges to open up two new gates that weren't available before," Clow said. The $1.3 million project also included renovating the six existing bridges.

Eventually, the airport is also going to "upgrade the air conditioning and electrical systems" Clow said.

"We've got a whole bunch of things going on."