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Spokane airport adding 1,300 parking spaces to accommodate growth

UPDATED: Tue., July 10, 2018, 6:35 p.m.

An aerial view of the site where a 1,300-space parking lot is being built at the Spokane International Airport. (Courtesy Spokane International Airport)
An aerial view of the site where a 1,300-space parking lot is being built at the Spokane International Airport. (Courtesy Spokane International Airport)

Responding to rapid growth, the Spokane International Airport is expanding its parking by 1,300 spaces.

The 12-acre-lot expansion will be near the cellphone waiting lot. It will be built in the western elbow of land at the intersection of West Airport Drive and McFarlane Road. The lot is expected to open in November.

Currently, the airport has nearly 8,000 parking spots in it garages, economy, concourse C and outside lots. The new lot will bring that total to 9,236 spaces.

Airport spokesman Todd Woodard said the airport board has not yet determined the lot’s rates, but said it will be an expansion of the economy lot served by the airport’s shuttle buses.

Current rates for the existing economy lot are $4 a day, which includes free shuttle service. Parking garages are $10 a day, with outside parking $8 a day and concourse C parking $7.50 per day.

The perceived need for new spaces is driven by the uptick in passengers in the airport, Woodard said. From 2011 to 2014, the airport saw about 3 million inbound and outbound passengers annually. That number has grown steadily since, with 2017 seeing more than 3.5 million passengers.

The growth led to the recent expansion of the A and B concourse security checkpoint. A fifth lane was added to accommodate the 25 percent increase in the number of people screened through the security checkpoint at the airport’s main gates since 2015, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Airlines also have noticed the popularity of the airport. Alaska Airlines said it will start direct service to San Diego this fall, and Frontier Airlines will offer twice weekly, nonstop service to Las Vegas from Spokane beginning in August. Frontier recently returned to the Spokane airport after a three-year hiatus, with flights to and from Denver four times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

In April, the airport board approved a $2.8 million design contract with Architectural Alliance International – whose team includes Wolfe Architectural Group, T-O Engineers and WSP USA Inc. – for the Terminal Renovation and Expansion Project. It is one of the first steps in the airport’s $130 million reconstruction project to meet passenger growth by expanding terminals, remodeling security checkpoints and adding a central baggage claim hall.

Work on the new parking lot has started. It’s being done by N.A. Degerstrom Inc., of Spokane Valley, which submitted a bid of $6.4 million, the lowest of three bids received.