Duluth Airport to start phase one of new terminal
For Duluth Airport Authority Executive Director Brian Ryks, it's been an uphill climb looking for funding during an economic recession. But with $7.1 million in federal money sitting on the table, he simply couldn't stop searching for a way to ge...
For Duluth Airport Authority Executive Director Brian Ryks, it's been an uphill climb looking for funding during an economic recession. But with $7.1 million in federal money sitting on the table, he simply couldn't stop searching for a way to get the $4.9 million in state bonding dollars that were needed to cash in on the federal dollars.
Ryks' determined attitude has paid dividends. When the legislative session closed on May 18, the bonding bill that the House and Senate presented to Gov. Tim Pawlenty includes the requested $4.9 million for the Duluth airport. Pawlenty has said he will support it.
"Many, many people told me it couldn't be done, but that wasn't an option for me," said Ryks, extending thanks to the governor, legislators, and many local officials. "I know how much the airport means to our economy and how important moving forward with a new terminal is to the future of this region. I also knew if we could leverage the $7-plus million from the federal government, we could have an immediate impact on our economy through construction jobs."
On Wednesday, the Duluth Airport Authority Board approved bids for phase 1 of the terminal project. Reynolds, Smith and Hills, Inc. was approved to provide engineering construction services. Kraus Anderson was approved for construction management. Ulland Brothers Inc. was approved for general site grading and infrastructure work. Polyphase Electric Company (Mesaba Electrical Group) was approved for electrical work.
The Board is sending these bids to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for final approval. Work is expected to begin the first week in July. This economic impact will soon be felt, with the creation of an estimated 200 construction jobs.
The airport will remain fully operational throughout the project.
Phase One of the terminal project will focus on infrastructure and preparing the site for the new terminal, including site grading, utilities, surveying, and building an access road and parking areas. Work is expected to be completed by late October.
This is the first step toward a new terminal, with an estimated cost of $65 million for the entire project. The airport will be back before the legislature in 2010 to ask for $11.7 million, with the remainder being committed in federal funding.
As the journey continues, it's easy to see why Ryks' enthusiasm for the project remains high.
"The terminal simply is ineffective since post 9/11 security measures have been put in place," he said. "Because of the current layout, our airport has multiple screening locations and passengers are forced to go into small hold rooms that are inadequate in size and lack simple amenities like restrooms and access to food and beverages."
The new terminal, for which the design is still being finalized, will not be much bigger from a square-foot perspective. However, it will be designed much more efficiently--in how it maximizes usage of space and minimizes the annual costs of heating, cooling and maintaining. Ryks added, "It will be much easier to allow multiple carriers to operate and therefore make it more attractive to additional airlines. The new terminal will also be easily expandable in the future, as air service continues to grow."
Building an environmentally friendly terminal is important to the Airport Authority, as well. The architects will incorporate as many Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified components as possible, and the airport will apply for LEED designation upon completion of the project, which is expected to be in late 2011.
-- Modified press release