County Executive Joe Parisi announced Thursday that more than 1,500 new parking spaces and free wireless internet access for travelers are among the amenities included in $20 million upgrade at Dane County Regional Airport.
The reported price for the improvements is significantly under the original 2014 county budget allocation of $35 million. Miron Construction Co. of Middleton has been awarded the bid for the project and airport revenues will be used to pay for it.
“The DCRA is a key contributor to our local economy, and when our airport expands you know great things are happening in our region,” Parisi said in a release. “The growth of local high-tech companies, combined with the Dane County Regional Airport’s growing list of 13 direct flights to locations across the country has helped increased ridership and demands for parking.”
Parisi noted that over 1.68 million passengers passed through DCRA in 2013 — the second highest ridership rate in airport history — and covered parking spaces in the existing ramp on location have become a premium.
The first phase of the project is expected to begin this spring with the addition of three floors onto the airport’s existing parking ramp, resulting in over 1,500 new spots that will be ready for use by the end of 2014. Existing spaces will remain available in the covered ramp throughout the construction process.
Once complete, the expansion will bring the DCRA’s covered parking capacity to 3,489 total stalls. An additional 1,700 surface parking spots are also available.
“We are excited to continue our work with Dane County on projects that are vital to the growth and development of this amazing region,” said David G. Voss, Jr., president and CEO of Miron Construction.
According to Parisi, the project will create 100 new jobs in the coming year and estimates that the DCRA has an economic impact to the area of nearly $500 million, including $277 million in visitor spending.
Also announced Thursday was plans to offer free WiFi to the airport’s visitors and travelers. Parisi called the upgrade a “critical need that has been expressed by our passengers and visitors in the past.”
The complimentary service will be offered through SupraNet Communications, Inc. Insight Wireless, LLC., will provide enough bandwidth to allow users to check e-mail and browse the web. DCRA visitors were previously required to purchase a daily, weekly, or monthly Internet service.