An Attractive, Cost-Saving, and Functional New Airport Terminal for Big Bear
Highlights of the Proposed New Terminal Rebuild
The existing terminal is old, worn, doesn’t meet codes, and is expensive to operate and maintain. The current building does not meet standards for seismic safety, snow loads, fire suppression, electrical, plumbing, and more. It is costly to maintain, and is three times bigger than needed. It must be replaced.
A full rebuild is the lowest cost option for both construction and long-term maintenance.
No additional plane traffic, noise, or other impacts will be generated by the new terminal, which is smaller than the existing building.
The new terminal will meet all needs of the Airport and the community. The new building will include space for a restaurant, for the community, and for airport users.
The new building will provide a meeting area available to community groups. The 1,875 square foot room will include seating, televisions, and, perhaps, a small kitchen for meetings, and small functions.
No new taxes or charges are needed to fund the rebuild. The District is still evaluating funding options. One proposal is to utilize some of the District’s reserve funds and obtain a low-interest loan for the rest.
Why the Current Terminal Needs to be Replaced
Doesn’t meet state accessibility regulations. The existing building has multiple accessibility violations, including site parking and signage. Currently, none of the restrooms meet accessibility standards, and there is no accessible route to and through the building.
Needs fire suppression and control system updates.
Electrical and energy codes require multiple upgrades. These primarily revolve around LED lighting and motion sensors, which require new wiring from the breakers to the fixtures, as well as new fixtures and controls. Plumbing improvements are needed. The building will have a complete new plumbing system.
Inefficient and outdated heating and air conditioning systems. Current systems require costly maintenance and are expensive to operate.
Structural problems that don’t meet standards. The structural problems include failure to meet modern snow load and seismic requirements, aged and degrading materials, and inadequate or not-to-specification construction in the past.
Expensive to maintain. Maintenance costs are very high because it is a large building and all its heating, air conditioning, roof, plumbing, and electrical systems are old and worn.
The building includes multiple levels and inefficient spaces that don’t meet current needs of the airport and airport users.
A Full Rebuild of the Terminal Costs Less Than a Renovation
It costs more to renovate. Renovating the aging existing terminal is estimated to cost about $18 million compared to rebuilding a smaller terminal for about $10.8 million.
It is very costly to meet structural requirements within a renovation.
Maintenance of a renovated building will be costly due to the age of any remaining systems and because the building is almost three times larger than needed.
No New Taxes or Charges Are Needed to Fund the Rebuild
The District is still evaluating funding options. One proposal is to utilize some of the District’s reserve funds and obtain a low-interest loan for the rest.
Airport Terminal Replacement Has Been a Long Time Coming
2015 — the first planning to renovate or replace the terminal building. The need to replace or renovate the airport terminal has been under evaluation and discussion in public board meetings and local media since at least 2015.
2015 to 2019 — numerous studies and evaluations. Since that time, the District undertook several studies to evaluate the structural shortcomings of the current terminal, developed a variety of options to remodel the current building, and identified costs for those options. Each time, the Board chose not to move forward due to the high costs of a remodel, the high maintenance costs following a remodel, and because the overly large terminal is not designed to meet the current and future needs of the Airport.
2020 and 2021 — Committee and Public Meeting Board Review. At a public Board meeting on December 11, 2019, the board formed an ad-hoc Board committee with two directors, and District’s Interim General Manager and the committee began meeting and developing plans for the new terminal building. At the same time, the District retained an architectural firm to assist the District through the design, engineering, and permitting process. The Committee and architect worked on the plan and presented regular updates to the Board. On January 13, 2021 Director Krause and Director Smith were appointed to the Airport Development committee to further review terminal building plans and construction. The committee was tasked to research funding options.
2020 and 2021 — Pre-Approval Process with the County. The District has submitted extensive reviews of every aspect of the new terminal to the County for review over the past year. The County has approved the layout, site mapping, space planning, and preliminary design.
2023. Construction is expected to be completed.