New Terminal Features Dual-Access Kitchen & Observation Deck

Author: 
Jim Faber
Published in: 
March-April
2009

In the most diplomatic terms, passengers at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport in southwest Oregon had "limited amenities." A vending machine was the only post-security option for food, and coffee came from a communal pot run on the honor system. Before the 9/11 attacks, they had to go back through the security checkpoint just to use the restroom.

The vice president of the project management firm hired to oversee development of its replacement puts it more plainly: "It was tired and out of date," recalls Chuck Hinson of URS. "It was very, very cramped. It was an old, old airport that barely served its function."

Last year, the non-hub facility served about 605,000 passengers out of the 50-year-old terminal with just 34,000 total square feet of space, three gates and four small restrooms.

All that changed in January, when the airport's new $30 million six-gate terminal opened for business. With about 95,000 square feet of space, it is almost three times bigger than the previous facility. The new two-story building is "a modern building that looks like it belongs in this century," says URS manager Ken Yeager, noting that it is much more open and airy than the old boxy terminal.

Record-breaking traffic from 1995 through 2000 and again from 2004 to 2007 preceded the $30 million construction project, says Kim Stearns, public information officer for the airport. Although the Federal Aviation Administration predicted Rogue Valley International would be servicing 600,000 passengers in 2017, the growing airport hit that mark a full decade ahead of schedule in 2007.

Build vs. Expand




All sides worked on "how to get a full bucket onhalf a bucket of funding," says CSHQA president Jeff Shneider.

Adding to the existing terminal wasn't an option at Rogue Valley because the 50-year-old building was located too close to the runway for FAA standards.

Constructing a new terminal from the ground up eased the overall process in a number of ways. By fencing off the construction area, the airport didn't have to clear every construction worker through security, notes airport director Bern Case. Building new also made it easier to provide passengers and airport staff the facilities they needed for the best possible flying experience.

In 2000, airport staff surveyed customers on what they'd like to see changed at the airport. The top responses were the addition of an observation deck, better restrooms and improved food service. Passengers have all three at the new terminal.

The opportu




Facts & Figures

Project: New Terminal Building

Location: Rogue Valley Int'l-Medford (OR) Airport

Size: 95,000 sq. ft.

Cost: $30 million

Owner: Jackson County

Architect: CSHQA

Project Manager: URS Corp.

Contractor: Adroit Construction

Construction Time: 2 years

Objective: Replace 50-year-old facility with a more spacious two-story terminal farther from the runway

Community Interest: The airport expected 600 people at its public preview of the new terminal; 2,000 attended

Contributing Players

Architect Subcontractor: Abell Architectural Group

Earthwork & Concrete: Knife River

Structural Steel: Bay City Fabricators

Millwork: New Horizons Woodworks

Roofing: Henris Roofing

Sheet Metal: S & S Sheetmetal

Baggage Handling: Logan Teleflex

Plumbing: Patterson Plumbing

Fire Protection: Omlid & Swinne

HVAC: Air Systems

Electrical Contractor: Mainline Electric

nity to watch planes come in and out was the top request of airport patrons. And the architect and airport worked to make that request a reality. Instead of a fully finished observation lounge, the airport saved money by creating a porch-style area that will be usable nearly year-round given Medford's mild climate. There are secure and non-secure sides to the observation deck.

Case, a self-described "tinkerer," came up with a way to save costs and provide the improved food service requested by survey participants. The soon-to-open restaurant called Sky House includes a single kitchen that will serve both the secure and non-secure sides of the airport. The kitchen will be located on the secure side and serve restaurant patrons there in a normal manner. Food will be also passed through a one-way sally port to a staff member on the non-secure side who will serve the food and act as cashier.

The airport gift shop already works in a similar manner. Non-secure shoppers take items to a cashier on the secure side, who scans the item through the glass cashier cage. Shoppers then show cash to the cashier and slide it into a cash-collecting machine. The cashier makes change and passes it to the non-secure side through a one-way window.

Fulfilling the third of travelers' top requests was simple. The airport tripled its restrooms from four to 12.

Baggage Building

The area for handling and screening checked luggage is in a separate building about 60 feet from the main terminal. Built specifically for that purpose, it lacks many of the design niceties included in the terminal. Putting baggage services in an adjacent building makes responding to luggage security threats easier and less intrusive to passengers than if the luggage handling area were in the basement, where it was originally planned.

A canopy rather than a fully enclosed walkway connects the baggage building to the main terminal - a change that saved a significant amount on construction costs, says Larry Kalousek, architect CSHQA's project manager.

It was all that creative thinking - one kitchen for two restaurants, a porch-style observation lounge and relocating baggage handling - that helped the $30 million project come in on time and under budget.

All sides worked on "how to get a full bucket on half a bucket of funding," says CSHQA president Jeff Shneider.

User Guides

The only real challenge throughout the construction was getting passengers to the terminal during the later stages of the project.

The first phase of the construction project moved the public parking and rental car parking away from the existing terminal because the new terminal was eventually built on that space. Before vertical construction began on the new terminal, travelers could still see the old terminal and walk to it. After vertical construction began, however, some passengers didn't know how to get to the terminal, so the airport started a shuttle service.

When the parking lot was moved to its new spot, near the new terminal, it included more than twice as many spaces - 1,131 vs. the previous 520.

Almost Finished

Not everything in the new terminal was 100% complete at presstime in February. The cleverly designed restaurant was weeks from opening. And construction on the new in-line baggage handling system was expected in early May.

The old terminal is also still standing, for now. The air traffic control tower was built atop the squat, one-story building and is still in use. The airport is building a new tower about 200 yards from the new terminal building in a separate construction project. After the new tower is complete and functional, probably in a few months, demolition on the old terminal will begin.

Although the new terminal is designed to be easily expandable, Case, estimates that another expansion is at least 25 to 30 years away - even with the record growth Rogue Valley International has seen over the past decade. And with that expansion, the terminal should be large enough to serve the seven-county area for at least 50 years.

Subcategory: 
Terminals

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