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A lone excavator begins work at what will become Orlando International Airport's new south terminal.
A lone excavator begins work at what will become Orlando International Airport's new south terminal.

Orlando International Airport is vastly broadening the scope of experts it is seeking to build its south terminal, looking for up to three construction managers for the $1.8 billion project.

Also, as a result of the project, OIA will be more than doubling the size of the parking lot it's building in that part of the airport, to 4,900 spaces from 2,400.

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Serving a key role for the airport's growth will be the construction managers, who are major linchpins in any building endeavor, planning, coordinating, budgeting and supervising projects from development to completion. Construction managers also seek bids from subcontractors.

In the airport's case, the construction managers will be working closely with architects, engineers and technology consultants to build the first phase of the south terminal, including the main terminal, the 16 to 24 gates for planes to come in, ticketing areas and security checkpoints.

Due to the scope of the job, the airport is seeking two construction managers for the terminal and one for the airfield.

"Right now it's about assembling the team," said Stan Thornton, chief operating officer of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. "We will spend the rest of this year procuring services."

The airport is looking for a broad range of services from its construction manager, including site work, roads, aprons, runways, taxiways, utilities, landscaping, walkways, pedestrian bridges, a chiller plant, concession planning and baggage handling systems.

The work will require integration with projects that are under way in that part of the airport: a people mover and a depot to house the SunRail and All Aboard Florida rail systems.

Bids for the construction managers are due Sept. 24, with the project expected to begin November 2016. The project is expected to be complete October 2019.

The Greater Orlando Airport Authority approved the south terminal May 30. It followed up a couple of days later with bid requests from design and engineering professionals.

Thornton said no selections have been made yet, but firms have come in to study the project and learn how to put bid packages together.

Because of passenger growth, the south terminal is seen as a necessary addition to the airport, which currently has two terminals.

At the end of April, the airport was serving 36.7 million passengers on an annualized basis, getting close to its record 37.2 million set in 2007. There was talk of a southern terminal then, but the recession hit and the project was put on the back burner.

The airport is on a trajectory to soon pass its record, given new carriers that are now flying into Orlando and additional flights by those that already use the airport, said Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Executive Director Phillip Brown.

Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Competitiveness, estimated OIA's passenger count to be 40 million by 2017 and close to 45 million by 2020.

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