A safety improvement project that closed runways at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport earlier this year has been completed.
Another project modernizing the 1940s-era airport while retaining its art deco character is gearing up, Airport Manager Lisa Poole said.
A $1.9 million effort to resurface the main runway and replace old runway lights with easier-to-maintain LED lighting ended May 17 with the reopening of the runway.
The project “went very well,” Poole said, adding it was a 60-day project that was completed in 33 days.
At one point, the work required the 3-day closure of both the main and secondary runways.
A $500,000 renovation of the terminal building, which was used by the Navy during World War II to train pilots, started last week, beginning with roof replacement.
The “project has many phases that will last approximately four months,” Poole said.
The improvements have been in city plans for a while and include funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The red brick building hasn’t changed much since its Navy days, officials have said.
The plan is to put down new carpet, enlarge the pilot’s lounge, install a new roof and add handicapped-accessible bathrooms.
“The intent of the project is to not significantly alter the original design … but to enhance and renovate the existing building to meet (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards,” said Angie Kennedy, marketing director for Carroll Daniel Construction, the project’s contractor.