SRQ Demos Old Tower to Make Way for New Development
The demolition of SRQ’s old air traffic control tower in September was the final step in preparing the north endof the airfield for future development. The tower was vacated in June of 2018 and was emptied of hazardous materials like asbestos in preparation for the demo. The actual demo took only 3 days, but a week was spent sorting through the materials for recycling.
The standalone building, built in the mid 80’s, had no base building to accommodate any administrative functions. It was open daily from 6 a.m. until midnight and only closed during the threat of a hurricane. It was 88 ft tall and consisted of 6 floors plus the top cab. The cab housed the air traffic controllers where they monitored airplane activity on the airfield and within 5-10 miles of the airport. An average of 15 – 20 people worked there daily, and records indicate that during the life of the tower, controllers guided approximately 5 million planes to and from SRQ.
The function of the air traffic control tower requires that the top floor be completely free of any obstructions that would prevent a 360-degree view of the airspace from the cab, therefore, the tower’s elevator only went to the sixth floor requiring controllers to climb a very steep stairway to access the cab.
Construction cost of the new air traffic control tower was approximately $25 million and funded by the FAA, FDOT and the Airport Authority. It stands taller, extending 135 foot above ground, and improves the line-of-site across the airfield. The FAA began operations in the new air traffic control tower in June of 2018.