The Lafayette Regional Airport is in the early stages of planning a new terminal that could bring an additional $60-80 million worth of construction to Lafayette, La.

The rapidly growing airport is expected to triple its passenger population by 2025. A study conducted by airport design and engineering firm URS Corp. in April 2013 found that the cost to remodel the existing terminal would run 85% of the cost of a new one.

Gregory Roberts, AAD, director of aviation at the Lafayette Regional Airport, says the Lafayette Airport Commission has made the decision to build a new terminal. The new two-level facility is projected to be 86,000 sq-ft (40% larger than the existing terminal) and would be configured on the property to accommodate more and larger aircrafts. Current plans call for at least five gates, more parking space, additional passenger screening areas and a larger secure seating area.

Airport terminals often have complex designs due to security considerations, and the large walls of glass, which must be rated to withstand hurricane-force winds. Roberts says terminals also must be carefully designed with minimal operation and maintenance costs to attract airlines.

"Terminals are typically complex buildings and they can take a while to design and get all the bits and pieces taken care of," he says. "The next step is to select an architect engineering firm to start the design process in earnest."

Roberts says design could take 18 months, after which construction could take 24 to 36 months depending on weather and the supply chain. Once completed, operations would move to the new terminal and the old one would be torn down.