SRQ airport has study opportunities before security

photo courtesy of Gracelena Ignacio

Across the hot parking lot and over the hill, beyond the smell of Sodexo cheeseburgers and past the sounds of Nerf guns battles is another world. It’s a place where shoes and shirts are required. Where the security guards will do more than trespass and where fresh baked donuts and iced coffee are staples anytime a day.

This world is of course the Sarasota-Bradenton International airport. Inside, the smell of chlorine from the airport’s manatee waterfall permeates the air while constant speech from news broadcasts plays unobtrusively in the background. Before security, visitors can stop by several shops and eateries they normally would have driven to including Dewar’s Clubhouse, Dunkin Donuts, Freshëns Smoothies and Frozen Treats, Gulf Coast Travelmart and the PGA Tour shop.

If a student is looking for an $11.99 clubhouse cobb salad, then Dewar’s Clubhouse is the place to go. They offer breakfast, sandwiches and salads that can be eaten in their sit down area or on the go. Next to Dewar’s is Freshëns Smoothies and Frozen Treats, where $4.99 will buy a regular sized smoothie in a tropical or trendy flavor.

Those who are looking to hit a bucket of balls around the University Park Country Club can visit the PGA tour shop for all their golfing needs. The shop offers apparel such as $39.99 kaki performance pants and an area of plush chairs where visitors can sip on free coffee samples, from Dunkin Donuts, and learn golfing tips from a how-to movie.

Across the hall from the PGA tour shop is the Gulf Coast Travelmart. Among their many practical and travel sized items are some more quirky products including paisley luggage, talking stuffed animals and key lime coconut patties. However, one of the Travelmart’s most attractive features is its attachment to Dunkin Donuts.

The light green walls and orange umbrella shaded tables make Dunkin Donuts a festive addition to the airport. Around noon, the seating area is scattered with airport personnel reading their newspapers on break and travelers hovering over their suitcases. Occasionally the are is also filled with college students.

According to the Store Manager Karen McCray, there are many students who come to the shops from New College and Ringling College of Art and Design. The shop is open seven days a week from 5:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m., depending on the outgoing flights and the donuts are baked fresh on site every day. The Dunkin Donuts also has a laptop area with outlets and access to the airports free wireless internet.

Third-year Julie Krzykwa said that she started going to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and stayed because she hasn’t been bothered in the that area. She gets coffee, people watches, or visits the Mote Marine aquarium sponsored tank to take a break from school work. The Mote tank is filled with sea life including royal gammas, queen angelfish, and giant red hermit crabs. Though she has never seen other New College students there, she usually goes there with a small group every few weeks as an alternative to working in the library.

There is 20 minute free parking for those who are off campus or do not want to walk over. There is also easy access to the #99, #2 and #15 SCAT bus lines, coin massage chairs ($1 for three minutes or $5 for 15 minutes) and a U.S. Bank ATM with $3 fee for nonmembers.

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