$2 billion renovation planned for Columbus Airport

To respond to the region’s rapid growth, Central Ohio’s main airport will soon undergo a major expansion, as $2 billion is expected to be invested into expanding and improving the John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH).

Dorsey Hager, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer, said the Columbus airport currently serves about eight million travelers per year, but it is expected to increase to 13 million travelers per year by 2028 with all the economic growth happening in the region.

A current view of the concourse at the John Glenn International Columbus Airport. The airport is set to undergo a $2 billion revonvation project.

A current view of the concourse at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport. The airport is set to undergo a $2 billion revonvation project.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) estimates the area’s population will grow from 2.4 million in 2020 to nearly 3.15 million residents by 2050.

“It’s not just Columbus and Franklin County, but the surrounding counties,” Hager said. “It’s the market and opportunities that are being presented that can help get folks and their families into the middle class.” 

According to The Columbus Dispatch, the new terminal would be about 900,000 square feet with roughly 37 body gates, including at least two for international flights, and a multi-parking garage with 5,000 spaces. 

In April 2022, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) Board of Directors approved a resolution to initiate professional design services for a new CMH terminal. The award-winning global architecture, design and planning firm, Gensler, was chosen. 

Gensler has partnered with Moody Nolan, a Columbus-based design firm to work on the project. Columbus-based Elford and award-winning firm Hensel Phelps were named as the project’s co-general contractors. 

Hager is hopeful he can speak with the general contractors about the benefits of using a Project Labor Agreement for such an important project. 

If a PLA is not used, Hager said the project will fall under Davis Bacon laws because it involves federal funding, so Prevailing Wage will still be in effect for the construction done on the project. 

While the project will likely create thousands of jobs for building trades members, Hager feels it is too early to estimate the exact number of construction jobs the project will create.

Construction is expected to start in Spring 2024, with the terminal open by 2027.

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