Lezlie Sterling / lsterling@sacbee.com

Crews this week are continuing the demolition of the old Terminal B complex at Sacramento International Airport. Demolition began shortly after the new Central Terminal B opened in October and is expected to be completed by June. After the 45-year-old Terminal B is cleared away, the site will be used for parking jets overnight. In the future, part of the site might be used for a new parking garage. The old terminal's two concourses have been leveled, and part of the facade has been ripped open.

Sacramento airport's old Terminal B comes crashing down

Published: Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 - 8:56 am

They're taking down the building where millions of Sacramentans once took off.

Crews with cranes and claws are tearing away at the old Terminal B complex, turning the original metropolitan airport structure to rubble.

The 45-year-old building, once famous as Sacramento's "easy-in, easy-out" launchpad, was replaced last fall by the new $1 billion Central Terminal B, towering a few yards away.

Demolition of the old complex began soon after the new terminal's October opening, and will be done by June, airport officials say.

The old terminal's two concourses already are gone and a part of the front facade has been ripped open.

"Everything is on track," airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said.

The demolition will cost $2.4 million and is being done by Sterling P. Holloway Inc. of the Auburn area.

Once the old terminal is cleared, the site will be used as a place for jets to park overnight. Someday, a corner of the land might be used for a new garage.

The demolition is happening without fanfare. Airport officials determined several years ago that the building's size, layout and operating systems are antiquated by modern aviation standards.

The building's tight upper concourse entrances became unsuitable for federal security checkpoints in the post-9/11 era, officials said.

Business recruiters complained the old building gave a poor first impression of the Sacramento region.

Airport officials supplemented the original terminal with the opening of Terminal A in 1998. That newer facility took on some of the heavy lifting, including serving as gateway for Southwest Airlines, which provides more than half the airport's flights. Southwest has since moved to the new terminal.

For many local fliers, the old Terminal B complex with its clean, vaulted face served to the end as an easy place to drop off and pick up fliers. Plenty won't miss it, though.

"Not at all," said Jon Masztakowski, a business executive with Valley Communications Inc.

He said he has his doubts about the effectiveness of the new terminal's automated people mover, which already has suffered shutdowns, but he likes the new building.

"You can be a little sentimental about seeing (old B) go," he said, but the change represents "an impressive evolution of air travel for our capital. It's great to have a spacious, modern facility."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Tony Bizjak



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