Medford Airport sets record for number of passengers

A record was set in June at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport as more than 63,800 passengers were processed through the region's largest airport.

"In June we were processing a passenger every 41 seconds," said Bern Case, airport director. "I'm still waiting on one airline to give me their final passenger count, but it's going to be our best month ever by about 3,000 passengers."

Case told the Lithia Springs Rotary club this morning that the record month came as no surprise.

"Right now we are bursting at the seams," Case said. "Last year we passed the 600,000 passenger mark and we continue to grow."

The presentation by Case came on the same day as the final revenue bonds for the current airport construction were approved. The new parking lot area is near completion and work will now begin on the new terminal. Construction will also begin on the tarmac and the walkways, which will bridge together the new additions later in the year. Construction is scheduled for completion in late 2008 or early 2009.

"What this means for travelers is that we have more room," Case said. "And we now have room to grow."

In his presentation, Case outlined the newest additions to the airport which will make travel safer, faster and more convenient for passengers. The new parking lot increases the number of available parking spaces and also introduces a "cell phone parking" area which allows those picking up guests to wait a short distance from the terminal until their passenger calls them for pickup.

The proposed terminal will offer an expanded security screening area, additional seating, an outdoor concourse, an observation area which will allow for viewing of the airfield, and a new restaurant which will serve screened and nonscreened passengers alike through a shared kitchen.

"If you check in early, you should still be able to get something to eat," Case said. "We will have heavy security in the [kitchen] area since it accesses both sides. It will be giving us two restaurants for the price of one."

The new 110,000-square-foot terminal will replace the current 35,000-square-foot building. According to Case, the construction will also open up the opportunity for new destinations as well as additional airlines.

Construction is scheduled to begin this winter and locally owned ADROIT Construction has received the bid for the project.

"We're really excited," said Jason Stranberg of ADROIT, " keeping the project here at home we help the valley from the materials to the contractors."

"We're staying local. We're staying within our budget," Case said. "We're building something nice but it's not the Taj Mahal."

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