Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) this week unveiled design plans for a new expanded terminal that features five new gates, a centralized power plant and modernized ticket lobby, TSA screening, baggage claim and concessions space.

The 18-month design project by the architecture firm Gresham Smith with input from community stakeholders, airport vendors and others, was nearly fully funded by FAA grants is aimed at ensuring AVL is well positioned to serve the aviation needs of western North Carolina for decades to come.

“We began this process more than a year ago, at a time when our passenger numbers were far exceeding the existing capacity of our terminal building at peak times,” said Lew Bleiweis, AVL executive director. “A new larger terminal is necessary to keep up with the demand – our growth is already returning.”

The design brings in elements of the Asheville region’s natural beauty while creating a modern gateway, added Brad Sucher, senior architect and project manager at Gresham Smith. In addition to expanding the number of gates from seven to 12, it features a flexible design that will enable enhancements and innovations as air travel evolves.

The next step for the project is approval from the airport authority board. AVL added that there is no timetable on obtaining funds for the project and when the actual construction will begin.