An updated look at the proposed new KCI Airport was unveiled to the airport committee during a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 16 at city hall.
Members of the Kansas City Aviation Department and Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate provided updates on the changes to the design since taxpayers passed a measure in November 2017 to fund a single-terminal airport.
Last month, the council learned of the growing cost and size of the project. The once projected 750,000 square foot building — shaped like an ‘H’ — grew to more than 1 million square feet after the addition of four new gates. The project was slated to have 35 gates, but plans were made to plan for additional growth and 42 total gates.
The project cost went from $964 million to no more than $1.4 billion, but the additional cost will be covered by the airline companies. Currently, the new terminal could be opened by October 2022.
“One thing needs to be stressed, early on it seems like everybody’s design looked like Dallas’ Love Field,” said second district councilman Dan Fowler, who represents Platte County. “It is a great airport, but I have to ask again and again, this is Kansas City and it needs to be unique with Kansas City. Whatever you can do to incorporate it in the overall design is necessary.
“We want something that when someone steps off an airplane, they know they are in Kansas City or when they are leaving, you know you are in Kansas City.”
A look into the changes so far showed a water fountain outside of the parking garage, which will be constructed by J.E. Dunn, on the approach to the terminal.
“It is important to use what the building looks like from not only the air, but the approach,” said Jordan Pierce, form Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the architect of the project.
He noted work will be done on the color and pattern of the garage.
Outside of the terminal will be four lanes and nine different curbside check-ins, which will be weather protected.
The check-in hall will feature 68 check-in counters, 72 self-service kiosk and currently 18 security lanes. An original design showed a two-story fountain inside the terminal, but the newest plans doesn’t have that.
Once past security a ‘town square’ will offer more restaurants and retail offerings not available in the current airport layout. The plan is to have local businesses there, with a performance space and displays to celebrate Kansas City’s history. A 4,500 square foot business lounge will be added that will have work stations, lounge seating and a food/beverage area.
The lounge will be available to frequent fliers on Delta, United and American Airlines, but a day-pass will also be available for purchase.
The new terminal will feature double the restrooms, going from 63 to 130, post security. They will have out swinging doors so travelers can take their bags inside the stall and a paired restroom design will mean portions can be closed off for cleaning, while the other half remains open.
Each of the 39 airline gates will have seating with charging banks.
There will be three escalators and two accessible elevators to take travels to the baggage claim in the lower level. There will be seven domestic baggage claim carousels and one for international flights.
The baggage claim area will have an exterior view as well.
In other news from the meeting:
A final environmental draft will be open for public comment the middle of next month.
Out-of-pocket expenses so far total $12.2 million, below the authorized $15.3 million.
Demolition of the current terminal A could begin in mid-October. The city put out a request for proposal bid late last week. Terminal ‘A’ hasn’t been used since Jan. 8, 2014.
There will be seven community meetings next to discuss the project. The closest ones are at Northland Cathedral on Sept. 18 and another at the Kansas City North Community Center on Sept. 25 both from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
A new terminal community ambassador program was formed, which includes the Platte County EDC and the Northland Chamber, among the 21 groups chosen. “It is an important list of organizations,” said Geoff Stricker, Edgemoor’s managing director. “We wanted it to feel like Kansas City. We have geographic, faith-based, businesses, organizations, economic development, sustainability. Here is the melting pot with various groups”
A labor agreement has been reached on the project between local unions and Edgemoor.