City leaders, contractors and airport stakeholders gathered Friday to formally launch the Will Rogers World Airport terminal expansion. Among other improvements, the $89 million project will add four new airline gates, a consolidated security checkpoint and much-needed greeting lounge space.

“Here at Will Rogers, we’re so excited to see this day come,” said Mark Kranenburg, airports director. “From the additional gate space, to impressive new public circulation areas, we’ve reached the point where we can start talking about this expansion in present tense. This is the point where we can see our vision truly start to come to life.”

Joining Mr. Kranenburg in the groundbreaking celebration were Mayor David Holt, Airport Trust Chairman Larry McAtee, John Semtner with FSB and Bryan Timberlake of Timberlake Construction.

“Will Rogers plays such a critical role in our city and its economic growth,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “Physically, it’s the first impression for most job creators and visitors, and the level of air service it provides has a direct correlation to our city’s level of economic opportunity across virtually all business sectors. This project will have a major positive effect on all the things that make our airport successful, and therefore it will have a major positive effect on our city’s economy.”

The ceremony marks the beginning of the first major expansion for WRWA in twelve years. The last project, completed in 2006, focused on aesthetic improvements; updating the 60’s era terminal building.  However, that expansion only netted one new airline gate and the security checkpoint was designed pre-TSA. This expansion focuses on the need for additional airline capacity, a streamlined security checkpoint, improved public circulation space and enhancing the overall customer experience.

FSB, an Oklahoma City-based, architectural-engineering-planning firm, led the design and engineering process for the project, joined by partner HOK who provided conceptual design services.

“The terminal expansion compliments and extends the existing architecture of the facility with the use of matching building materials while also providing a fresh and updated interior space and exterior compatibility,” said FSB principal John Semtner.

One highly anticipated feature of the project is an elevated public circulation area that will give non-ticketed visitors a place to view airplanes. Lounge seating in this new area will­­ provide a comfortable place for the non-traveling public to watch aviation activity, without requiring them to purchase an airline ticket.

OKC-based Timberlake Construction is the general construction contractor for the project.

“Timberlake Construction is proud to be just one of the many team members working on this historic project,” said Bryan Timberlake, President & CEO. “Throughout our long history of building Oklahoma we have had the privilege of being involved in many of Oklahoma’s premier and most recognizable projects. We are proud to add this flagship project to the top of that list.”

The project has been branded “Heading Forward: Project HDG-090”.  HDG-090 references the navigational heading for due east, the direction the new portion of the building is expanding. Updates and terminal wayfinding signage will utilize this branding to communicate construction changes to the public.

The relocation of the center elevator that connects WRWA’s pedestrian tunnel, baggage claim and ticketing levels is also underway. The realignment of this elevator will provide congestion relief and improved line-of-sight in both the ticketing and baggage claim lobbies.  Steps are being taken to ensure that nearby escalators stay open to the public during this construction process. 

Construction is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2021. View the expansion conceptual animation here.

Follow Will Rogers World Airport on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.