Construction crews are nearing completion of Phase I renovation efforts at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock.
This first stage of development costs about $67 million and included extensive renovations to the ticket lobby, a state-of-the-art baggage system, and renaming the airport to honor the legacy of the former president and the former secretary of state.
Airport Commission Chairman Kay Kelley Arnold says the Clintons are expected to attend the official dedication ceremony on May 3.
“We’re very excited to have the Clintons join us on May 3 for the dedication of our new building, the renovation of our facilities, and the renaming of the airport,” said Arnold. “Many people don’t realize that Hillary Clinton served as the Airport Commission’s attorney during the 1980s and we appreciate her service to this organization. Our airport is the first in the country to be named after a president, a first lady, and a secretary of state and we are very proud of that. We hope we have a good crowd [for the dedication] and people can go to the airports website to order free tickets to attend the event.”
Click here to learn more about the dedication ceremony and request free tickets.
Airport Executive Director Ronald Mathieu says Phase I has come in under budget and other upgrades are necessary throughout an airport that hasn’t had many changes in decades.
“All of the bathrooms will be renovated, because the design is 60s era and built in the 1970s and it’s really time to upgrade those facilities to give out customers a much better experience,” Mathieu said. “The work is going to continue for some time, but we’re trying to do the work in a way that will minimize the impact on our customers… that’s why if you come here at nighttime there is like 200 people running around after the flights are out trying to get as much work done as possible. It’s very difficult to operate an airport while you’re also rebuilding it, but we’re getting a lot of experience doing it and we’re trying really hard to do what’s in the best interest of our customers.”
The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission started preparing for overhaul efforts three years ago when it developed the Vision 2020 plan, a blueprint for new construction and more passenger-friendly services at the airport.
Phase II of the overhaul will include a $5 million renovation to makeover the baggage claim area; facility upgrades to make passengers more comfortable and airport operations more efficient; and efforts to build additional restrooms and improve older ones. More than 2.2 million passengers travel through Clinton Airport every year.