With a puff of red, white and blue smoke from a brief explosion, the ground was broken at the Provo Municipal Airport on a new terminal that will bring up to 10 new gates and more than 22 flights a day to and from Provo.

“Provo city is taking flight,” said Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “This is truly an example of cooperation with the federal, state, county and city governments.”

Kaufusi was referring to the many years of preparation it has taken for Wednesday’s groundbreaking for the new terminal.

The terminal is expected to be completed in December 2021.

From Mayor Lewis Billings getting the radar and control tower, Mayor John Curtis building the first terminal, and now the new and improved terminal, there have been countless hours spent getting ready for this day.

“Flight is an integral part of what we do or who we are,” said County Commissioner Bill Lee. “I would think the Provo airport will become a microcosm of activity.”

Lee referred to a comment he heard indicating that if this terminal were to be built it would “open the floodgates of awesomeness.”

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, representing Gov. Gary Herbert, said he had been with a business group in New York City recently and the company helps large clients find the best places to do business.

“They said years ago the never looked at Utah. These are big clients,” Cox said. “Utah is now in the top three.”

Cox said he asked what Utah needed to do to stay in the top and the response was to build infrastructure.

“Utah invests in infrastructure,” Cox said. “This is a game changer, it changes everything.”

Business growth will be one of the payoffs for having the expanded airport and Rona Rahlf, president of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, said the county is ready to bring it on.

“Infrastructure enables trade, powers businesses, and creates opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Rahlf said. “The Utah County business community eagerly anticipates the completion of the new Provo Airport Terminal and is grateful for this visionary investment in our future.”

Airport manager Steve Gleason in talking about the future of the airport said, “Having more airlines (here) is inevitable.

“If you can fly out of Provo even once, you’ll never (want to) fly out of anywhere else,” Gleason said. “This terminal is designed around Utah County. When you walk in you’re at home. It is an extension of downtown Provo. We’ll see that it is so comfortable and so stress free.”

Gleason said the airport is the second busiest airport in the state and can take airplane sizes up to a Boeing 757. The new design even has a windowed area for families to meet and greet Latter-day Saint missionaries, which he anticipates will be a part of the future. The terminal is designed with windows that allow families to see the missionary come off the plane and right into the terminal.

Gleason said it is similar to the Colorado Springs Airport with similar demographic, colleges, families and population size.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

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