AVOCA, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A piece of northeastern Pennsylvania’s history is about to be torn down.
Within the next few days, demolition will begin on the old terminal building at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
The old terminal opened in 1959 and has served countless passengers during its time.
The new terminal building, which is right next to the old one, opened in 2006 so the demolition project has been more than a decade in the making.
In a symbolic gesture, airport leaders used hammers to break-up a picture of the old terminal building Thursday.
By late August, the old terminal building will be gone.
“The old terminal building was fantastic in its time but over time its become an eyesore,” airport director Carl Beardsley said.
While time has taken its toll on the old terminal, many passengers remember it and not in very fond ways.
Many say it used to give the region a bad “first impression.”
“It was definitely a gray, dark, dingy airport and I was doing a lot of flying globally with my company and to have to come here everyday it was not a good start to the day,” James Crabbe of Ohio said.
In 2006, a new $41 million terminal building opened.
Passengers say the difference is “night and day” and makes the area seem much more inviting to tourists.
“This is brighter, nicer, you get a better view of things,” Jan Fagerburg of Waverly said.
So, what has taken so long to get demolition going?
Airport leaders say they had to use the old terminal’s traffic control tower until 2013 when a new tower opened and ever since then they’ve been getting the $2.2 million needed for demolition.
“There were things that we needed to wait for and the tower was the biggest,” airport director of engineering Steve Mykulyn said.
Airport managers say all of the demolition will take about 90 days.
When it is complete, the old terminal area will be used for new parking space for aircraft and vehicles. Part of the access road to the new terminal will also be re-routed a little bit.