The terminal at Mesa’s Falcon Field reopened Dec. 12 after a 10-month, $2 million renovation to upgrade and expand facilities for pilots, passengers and the public.
The terminal project was the first of several planned improvements at the airport, scheduled to stretch into 2016. The additional projects carry a price tag of another $2 million.
The terminal at the airport in northeast Mesa was more than 40 years old. The renovation resulted in an increase to 5,600 square feet of usable interior space, from 3,560 square feet. Improvements were made in the lobby, public waiting area, pilot briefing room, conference room and rest rooms. Charging stations for electronic devices were also added.
The exterior of the building was modernized, Mesa city officials said in a press release. It features LED-lit lighted blue fiberglass spires inspired by aeronautic forms and runway lighting. The glowing arches are expected to make the building a landmark at night.
Exterior shade structures were installed, along with additional seating and new landscaping. Plans call for adding binoculars so spectators can better view the aircraft which use the airport.
A new mural pays homage to the airport’s historic past as a training base for British Royal Air Force pilots during World War II. A sidewalk is painted like a runway, designed to invite people to try out the free gliders they can request from airport employees inside the terminal.
The public viewing area is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
The new design is intended to send a strong message that Falcon Field is at the center of Mesa’s aerospace and high-tech industry, lead architect on the renovation Sandra Kukla said in a press release.
She described the terminal as “contemporary both inside and out,” but with design elements that invoke memories of the airport when it was used as a pilot training base.
In a press release, Mesa City Councilman David Luna said the improvements push Falcon Field to the level of other airport terminals in the Valley.
“They all have great terminals that are inviting to pilots,” Luna said. “Falcon Field is now at the top of that list and will be a destination for pilots.”
“We hope the aviation community and residents of Mesa will use and enjoy the new amenities of this much-needed facility,” Airport Director Corinne Nystrom said.
Mesa Mayor John Giles touted Falcon Field for its potential economic impacts to the city.
“The Falcon Field area has many opportunities for additional development and this upgraded terminal will help attract new business and general aviation users,” Giles said in a press release.
Future work at the airport includes a realignment of taxiway A, the installation of blast pads on both ends of the north runway to reduce dust particulates and the erosive effects of propeller wash and jet blast. And, a new aircraft washing facility will be built.
Falcon Field is owned by the city of Mesa. But, no money from the city’s general fund is spent on airport operations. Rather, the airport is self-supporting with revenue coming from user fees.