The U.S. FAA joined the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority (SMAA) and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) this week in dedicating a new 128-foot air traffic control tower at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) in Florida.
The $24.8 million tower was jointly funded by the three entities under a “unique” arrangement, according to the FAA, which chipped in $7.2 million for the design, engineering, and electronic equipment. The agency installed and will maintain the equipment. SMAA, meanwhile, covered $8.9 million in construction costs and will own and maintain the building. FDOT contributed $8.7 million toward construction.
Spanning 9,000 sq ft, the building houses administrative offices, training rooms, and equipment that includes an updated voice communications system, radio transmitter, and flight data processor.
“The new facility will provide our controllers with greater visibility of the airfield, and our investment in technology will enhance their ability to provide safe and efficient air traffic services for the Sarasota Bradenton community,” said Michael O’Harra, FAA Southern regional administrator.
Working from the 525-sq-ft tower cab, controllers will handle flights within a 10-mile radius up to 4,000 feet. Last year, Sarasota tower controllers handled nearly 105,000 operations. Thirty-four FAA employees work at the facility in all, 20 involved in air traffic and the remainder in technical operations.