The City of Ocala hosted a ribbon cutting and grand opening today for the recently completed new general aviation terminal at the Ocala International Airport at 1770 SW 60th Avenue. The ceremony included members of the Ocala City Council, Florida Congressional leaders, Ocala International Airport Director Matt Grow, Sheltair representatives, Airport Board members, Mayor Kent Guinn and other notable guests. It was followed by a walking tour of the new facilities, led by ambassadors from the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Ocala Chapter 812 (EAA).
“Ocala needed a gateway and we’ve envisioned one for a long time,” Grow explained. “a lot of people recognized the need and came together to make it happen. I couldn’t be more proud. It’s a first-class facility and today is a great day.”
The project began in December 2018 and was completed in 13 months with the terminal receiving the official certificate of occupancy in January 2020. The newly created 17,500 square foot general aviation terminal includes office space for Sheltair Aviation, the airport’s fixed-base operator, airport administration, a large conference area and executive conference room, as well as three rental car rental companies (Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise). Future plans include a proposed restaurant at the terminal.
Visitors arriving at the new terminal will note the equine elements incorporated into the design as a nod to Ocala/Marion County being the “Horse Capital of the World.” Those flying in and entering from the tarmac are greeted by a double line of statues of jockeys representing some of the area’s top-notch horse farms. From the front of the building, guests see such elements as the barn-like rooftop of the drive-through portico.
The terminal is the centerpiece of the 1,500-acre airport property. The airport accommodates corporate, charter and private aviation. It is owned and operated by the City of Ocala, with policy provided by the City Council and an Airport Advisory Board.
The cost of the new terminal was $7.3 million. The Florida Department of Transportation provided $3.6 million in grants; Sheltair provided $2 million; and the airport provided $1.6 million.
Michael Baker International, an aviation consultant from Tampa, created the design for the terminal. Ausley Construction of Ocala built the terminal.
For more information, visit www.ocalaairport.com.