Jul. 13—CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. — An influx of federal funds should help the Chamberlain Municipal Airport better serve the region by paving the way for construction of a new airport terminal, according to city and federal officials.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced the recipients of $969 million in grants on Thursday to 85 airports, which includes the airport in Chamberlain. All told, the infrastructure bill includes $5 billion in funding for airport terminals across the country.
The grant should allow the city to move up its timeline for constructing a new airport terminal, which had been slated to be replaced in 2029.
"The terminal to the Chamberlain airport is the front door to all visitors who utilize the airport to visit the Chamberlain area. The airport welcomes people from all over the United States and beyond for our premier pheasant hunting in the area. Pilots from Sanford Health also utilize the terminal routinely," Chad Mutziger, mayor of Chamberlain, said in a release. "The new terminal building is a key part of our airport expansion project and wasn't slated to be completed until 2029 and we are grateful to have been selected for this grant so we can accelerate the construction of this much needed terminal building."
The competitive Airport Terminals Program is funded through the
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The new terminal project in Chamberlain is estimated to be a $950,000 project with $855,000 being grant-funded.
The new terminal will be located on the existing apron, southeast of the existing terminal, will meet ADA standards, use an energy-efficient design, and support growing users from the planned runway extension.
The project includes the design and construction of a new terminal and parking lot reconstruction. The new terminal will increase accessibility for all users including customers of pheasant hunting outfitters which are key drivers of economic impact in the area. It will also improve access for medical flights and pilots who routinely transport medical staff to Chamberlain.
"Americans deserve modern airports that meet the needs of their families and growing passenger demand. Funded through President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, (these) grants will improve airport terminals while also creating good jobs in communities across the country," said Pete Buttigieg, United States secretary of transportation, in a release.
Those benefits will extend to airports of all sizes, like the one in Chamberlain.
"And we're not forgetting smaller, more rural facilities that might not be household names, but could mean a huge amount economically to those regions," Buttigieg said. "(The airport in) Chamberlain, South Dakota, for example, their general aviation terminal right now is a mobile home. We're going to fund them to have the kind of terminal they really need in order for flight operations to grow and to succeed."
The grants can fund projects that will improve airfield safety through terminal relocation, replace aging facilities, increase capacity, encourage competition, improve energy efficiency — including LEED accreditation standards — and increase or improve access to passengers with disabilities and historically disadvantaged populations.
Projects that relocate, reconstruct, repair or improve an airport-owned air traffic control tower are also eligible.