By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
The Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport in Lake Jackson, Texas, hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting on Friday, Nov. 1, to mark the opening of the airport’s 11,000-square-foot terminal office building. The event was attended by a number of local government officials, representatives from TxDOT, the general public and country music superstar Aaron Tippen, who is a big advocate for general aviation as well as an instrument-rated commercial pilot with single-and multi-engine ratings.
The $2.7 million facility includes administrative offices, fixed-based operator services, aviation and car rental/lease space, utility closets, as well as the general public terminal/lobby and pilots lounge. The terminal building also features a large conference room than can hold up to 75 people. The one-story building has an exterior of brick, natural stone and exposed metal.
In his opening remarks Precinct 4 Brazoria County Commissioner Larry Stanley underscored the importance of the new terminal building to the area’s economic growth. “We are very proud of this terminal building,” Stanley said. “It is a true asset and serves as a great front door to Brazoria County.”
The completion of the terminal building is part of the airport’s 20-year master plan with a number of improvements completed since 2008. The runway has been extended to 7,000 feet, enough to accommodate small- to medium-sized airliners. Future improvements include more public and private hangars and an air traffic control tower.
“It’s amazing how far this airport has come in a few years,” said TxDOT Aviation Director David Fulton. “The representatives from this community understand and appreciate the value this airport brings to the area.”
The terminal replaced three portable buildings at the airport and is expected to help facilitate growth. Situated adjacent to the Crosswind Café, the airport is fast becoming a popular destination airport for pilots. The airport saw almost 78,000 take-offs and landings in 2008, and Airport Director Jeff Bilyeu expects that number will swell to 84,500 by 2014 and 95,600 by 2019.
“We didn’t have a true terminal building when I began to work here a few years ago,” Bilyeu said. “This project was made possible because of the support of community leaders and the wonderful relationship we have with TxDOT staff.” For more information about Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport, visit their website at http://www.flylbx.org/.