ITHACA, N.Y. — Construction crews working at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport’s new terminal project discovered a time capsule that had been hidden in the previous terminal’s wall during the 1994 renovation.
“One of the most interesting things about the terminal expansion project was discovering the time capsule that was buried 25 years ago,” says Mike Hall, director of the airport.
Included in the time capsule was the program from the May 21, 1994 Grand Opening Ceremony for the then new terminal, photos of airport staff at the time, 1994 Mint proof sets, ribbon from the ceremony, original blueprints, as well as other miscellaneous local and airport-related items from 1994 like a Wegmans receipt and and issue of Skymall.
Also in the capsule was a letter from retired Airport Manager Robert Nicholas. In the letter, Nicholas makes several predictions about the future, ranging from technology to politics to the future of aviation.
“Building the new terminal was a fun project and being the airport manager here in Tompkins County has been a very rewarding and interesting job,” Nicholas wrote. “I look forward to contributing much more to the future of this great little airport…hopefully, I will be around long enough to see if some of my predictions will come to be.” Nicholas retired in 2014 after 25 years of service at the airport.
The time capsule also includes a brochure from the 1994 airport update, which outlines the $11 million project. That project produced a new 33,000 square-foot terminal, extended the runway, added additional parking spaces and boarding gates, and a waiting area for passengers.
Fast forward back to 2019 and the airport is nearing the end of a $35 million renovation, roughly $10 million more than the originally proposed price of $24.7 million.
The project is intended to expand and modernize the airport, allowing it to receive international flights by adding a Customs and Border Protection facility and six total gates, four jet bridges and a restaurant and bar. It has drawn ire from some corners of the public concerned about who the airport would serve, primarily Cornell, and what the impact of Customs and Border Patrol stationed in Tompkins County might mean.
“We’re looking forward to burying the new time capsule, which contains a divider so that we can fill half the capsule with the 1994 items and half with new items that represent our present moment in Tompkins County,” says Hall.
The airport, in a Facebook post, announced that the time capsule would be buried next week.
Photos courtesy of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport