COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Regional Airport Authority is in the early stages of designing and preparing for the possibility of an entirely new terminal at John Glenn Columbus International Airport before the end of the decade.

Rather than renovate the existing terminal, a fact sheet released by John Glenn International outlines the authority’s intention to start fresh and construct a terminal at the current location of the cell phone and blue long-term parking lots, across from the new rental car center. Under the proposal, a parking garage would be constructed on the site of the McDonald’s next to the rental car center. 

Although the terminal has been renovated before, the “core” of the terminal and some of its assets and systems “are nearing the end of useful life,” according to the fact sheet. 

It cites central Ohio’s likely growth as more reason to pursue the project. 

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission has previously projected that the 15-county region is on track for a population of around 3.15 million by 2050, adding hundreds of thousands of residents in the next decade. This new terminal could accommodate that level of growth, according to John Glenn International. 

Renderings of the terminal construction project show a modern, curving exterior and an interior where natural light streams in.

If all goes according to plan, under the current timeline, construction could start in late 2024 and the terminal could open to the public in late 2028 or early 2029. The current terminal will serve travelers until the new terminal is finished, and then the current proposal calls for demolition of the current terminal, Columbus Regional Airport Authority spokesperson Sarah McQuaide said. 

Funding for the pre-construction phase has been greenlit by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority Board, but each future phase of the project will require additional votes, according to McQuaide. The port authority plans to fund the project in a mix of ways, from airlines to passenger user fees to parking and concessions to federal grants. 

Although the terminal itself won’t close during construction, McQuaide said there is a good chance some access roads could see closures. She recommended travelers to and from Columbus continue to check the airport’s social media accounts as the project progresses.