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ADOT Plans for a New Grand Canyon Airport Terminal

By Terri Attridge

Rendering of the proposed new terminal at Grand Canyon Airport / courtesy of LEA - Architects, LLC

Ambitious plans for new opportunities at the airport are being discussed locally with stakeholders in and around Tusayan.

On Nov.29, the Grand Canyon Nation Park Airport Stakeholders Group meeting began with a welcome by John Nichols from the Arizona Department of Transportation, introductions by each attendee, and a summary of the last meeting.

Larry and Lance Enyart from LEA Architects L.L.C.  explained ADOT’s vision for the potential new airport terminal. They said the new terminal facility should be looked at not only as an icon for The Grand Canyon but rather an icon for Arizona as a whole. Larry Enyart expressed the need for a partnership between the local businesses and the new businesses that would exist in the terminal facility. He was adamant that the new entity should not be considered competition for preexisting businesses.

The future plans for this new terminal would adhere to all concerns for sustainability. The newest edition to the Grand Canyon Airport was the AARF building, also designed by LEA Architects L.L.C., which won an award for sustainability.

Interior rendering of the new terminal

Some qualities from the AARF building were utilized in the design for the new Grand Canyon Airport Terminal. In terms of sustainability the plans include solar hot water, solar photovoltaics, gray water landscape irrigation, use of local and regional materials, low E insulated glass, added insulation, natural day lighting, natural ventilation and more.

As the architects were interested in lowering the carbon foot print, the new building would also include wind energy to power the vertical elevator shaft. The old terminal, which was built in the 1960s is not well equipped for ADA, is too small and has asbestos.

The new airport terminal plans include 122 spaces for rental cars which they hope will be electric, 538 total parking spaces some of which would be short term and some of which would be long term parking, monorail and train services. Both the monorail and train plans are ideas that are not concrete and would not be part of the initial building but introduced at a later stage. The name for the stages of planning is called Vision 2020 with the goal of completing the terminal by 2020.

Stakeholders in attendance submitted their ideas in a dialogue exchange. Cecily Maniaci expressed some worry that with the idea of having a monorail running from the airport and into the park many guests might be inclined to bypass the town of Tusayan. Park Service representatives also worried about monorail initiatives as the idea for a light rail was rejected in 1999.

Model of the new terminal

Park Service representative Mary Killean brought up her concerns that with the Park Service facing a 6-12% budget cut they will not have the infrastructure to accommodate the 600,000 extra people that the new airport could bring to the Grand Canyon.

Council member Bob Blasi also said the current infrastructure of Tusayan may be inadequate to meet the demands of an increased volume, and said housing for newly employed people would need to be a top priority.

As this is the only airport owned by ADOT in the State of Arizona, representatives from ADOT were very interested in working with the community and finding out what the community wanted.

Each individual attendee was invited and encouraged to speak at several times throughout the meeting. The meeting was conducted professionally and in a timely manner ending at 8:30p.m.  To see the Grand Canyon Airport Terminal Area Plan you can go to You can view concept pictures including the model of the proposed Grand Canyon Airport Terminal on the LEA-Architects website at then click on current projects.

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