Construction of $4.5-Million Airport Terminal Underway

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Murfreesboro Airport Director Chad Gehrke speaks to the noon luncheon of Murfreesboro Rotary Club. (Frank Caperton photo)
Rendering of the new Murfreesboro Airport that is under construction (photo by Frank Caperton)
Rendering of observation area of the new Murfreesboro Airport that is under construction (photo by Frank Caperton)
Rendering of the airport tarmac side of the new Murfreesboro Airport that is under construction (photo by Frank Caperton)

Last month WGNS reported on the demoltion of the old Murfreesboro Airport. On Tuesday (5/7/2019) Airport Manager Chad Gehrke told the Murfreesboro Rotary Club that construction of the new terminal is underway. (pronunciation guide: Gehrke: ger-key)

The old facility was 4,000 square feet, and the new one is 15,200 square feet--almost 4-times larger.

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Gehrke was proud that the new terminal will make it even easier for the public to come and watch airplanes land and take-off.

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Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland proudly proclaimed that the airport generates enough income to totally underwrite operating expenses. (NOTE: The mayor will be on WGNS Wednesday morning from 8:10-9:00AM) The Murfreesboro Airport is one of the only general aviation airports in the state of Tennessee that is self-supporting. No city tax dollars are used towards the daily operations of the airport. The revenue generated from leases and fuel sales funds the operations and capital improvement programs.

$2-million of the $4.5-million to construct the new airport terminal is being covered by a Tennessee Department of Transportation grant. That was presented January, 2019 from the Aeronautics Economic Development Fund.

Murfreesboro-based Smith Design Build, a commercial building contractor, and Nashville-based architectural firm Lowen+Associates, LLC, teamed-up on the design to meet the unique needs of the municipal airport. The airport caters to the Aerospace Department at Middle Tennessee State University and Air Methods LifeFlight emergency medical transport for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Murfreesboro has a land lease with TDK Hangar and will soon occupy a 16,400-square-foot hangar and 4,000-square-foot office space.

When finished, the spacious main lobby area will a 15 to 20-foot high sloping ceiling that includes a giant feature BA Fan that mimics aeronautical elements. There is discussion of mounting two DA-40 or Cessna aircraft shells in that area. It will include a raised observation area with stairs leading to the main lobby and to an outdoor balcony.

A catering kitchen with ample storage can serve a large leasable Business Conference Center accommodating 75 people.

The Center will provide patrons with a view of the airfield.

Gehrke added, "The goal is to be able to use the leasable space for catered events. We feel strongly that the business and higher education community will utilize this space as it is a focal point for air travelers and the first impression air travelers see as they visit Murfreesboro."

A smaller executive Conference Room, approximately 475-square feet of office space, and additional lease space provide flexibility to expand.

On the exterior runway side, a mezzanine extends outside to an observation deck to allow for easy-viewing of air traffic. On the land side, entrance to the terminal exterior includes multiple-vehicle parking around the existing circular area where the flag pole is currently located. Earth tones with accents in metal, tall glazing and brick create a feel for use beyond an airport terminal.

Again, the new Murfreesboro Airport terminal is forecast to be finished within a year to a year and a half. That means that we'll be able to tour and enjoy the facility next spring or by summer, 2020 at the latest.

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Airport Manager Chad Gehrke, Murfreesboro Airport, WGNS
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