Makeover begins Monday at Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano will take a sledgehammer to a bathroom wall Monday, officially marking the start of renovations to the airport's main terminal.

Board members of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority were told Thursday at a meeting that the $20 million project is expected to be completed on schedule. The first phase is expected to be finished before the Republican National Convention starts Aug. 27.

TIA spokeswoman Janet Zink said the renovations were already planned, but officials decided to accelerate some of them to be finished by Aug. 10.

The first phase of the projects includes renovating half of the bathrooms on all levels, an upgraded waiting area for valet parking, tourism kiosks at baggage claim, a new waiting area for military members and new digital signs promoting the area.

After the convention is over, the airport will renovate the rest of the bathrooms, replace carpet with tile on the ticket level, add seating to waiting areas and install better lighting on the ticket and transfer levels.

"It's really about modernizing the terminal while making sure it's still easy to use and customer-friendly," Zink said about the renovations.

Also at Thursday's meeting, board members unanimously approved a $25 million temporary increase to the airport's line of credit with SunTrust Bank.

The short-term loan will help the airport pay for renovations to the Airside F terminal, where nearly all of TIA's international flights arrive and depart. The terminal renovations will begin sometime during the summer and will be completed by November.

Zink said the loan will be paid off quickly with grant money.

Makeover begins Monday at Tampa International Airport 03/01/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 1, 2012 7:23pm]

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