There’s a lot of new building and renovation going on at Piedmont Triad International Airport but one of the most important new projects is one that airport officials and others broke ground on Wednesday, June 5.

The official name of the new tower is a mouthful – the Air Traffic Control Tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control – and towers with names like that don’t come cheap: The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will invest $61 million in the structure that will be central to the airport’s operation for years to come.

When finished, the tower will be 180-feet tall and topped off by a 550-square-foot “tower cab” that will accommodate up to eight positions for air traffic controllers.  The base of the tower will be a 15,650-square-foot building that will house the Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) with 10 radar positions for air traffic controllers.  The TRACON will monitor an area within a 60-mile radius of the airport.

Koury Corp. President Steve Showfety, the chairman of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, said the new tower is greatly needed.

“It has been 45 years since the current air traffic control tower was put into service,” he said. “Today we are turning a page.  This new tower will give us the modern infrastructure we need to live up to the vision of our master plan and will allow the Piedmont Triad International Airport to continue to add new passenger service, serve our current tenants and also add new tenants who will bring investment and jobs to the community.”

Summerfield Mayor Gail Dunham, who took part in the groundbreaking, said after the event that the airport “is a terrific economic engine for the greater Greensboro area with jobs and economic growth.”

FAA Regional Administrator of the Southern Region Michael O’Harra said, “This investment in infrastructure and technology will place the airport in an excellent position for future growth.  The new facility will enable air traffic controllers to provide the safest and most efficient service to Piedmont Triad area travelers for decades to come.”

Construction on the tower started in April 2019 and the completion date is projected to be in 2022.  About $41 million is for construction while $20 million is for equipment and installation, cabling, etc. The cost of demolition of the existing facility and disposal of the equipment also is included in the total price tag.