New KCI Details Promise More Checkpoints, Better Bathrooms For Kansas City Travelers | KCUR

New KCI Details Promise More Checkpoints, Better Bathrooms For Kansas City Travelers

Aug 16, 2018

Performance space, more check-in areas and restroom doors that swing out — those are some of the concepts incorporated into the latest design renderings for the new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

Representatives of SOM, who are leading the design of the terminal and Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate, the lead developer, updated Kansas City’s airport committee Thursday on that the new terminal could look like and when residents will see construction begin in earnest.

Plus, they announced they had reached a labor agreement with unions, something the council has been pressing for.

The mood at city Hall was decidedly more upbeat for August's scheduled update on progress compared to updates in June and July, when representatives told the council the new airport wouldn't open until fall of 2022 and is expected to cost about $300 million more than originally thought.

"That fact that it is progressing and progressing very very well is exciting," said Councilman Dan Fowler. 

Updated design renderings

It’s been ten months since the city council saw images of that a new terminal could look like. Since then, some elements have been lost and some been improved upon.

Architects form SOM want the check-in and gate area to be "airy and inviting." They are considering using warm materials like wood and incorporating lots of natural light.
Credit Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate

Jordan Pierce is an architect with SOM. He said they want the new terminal to be bright, inviting and reflect on some of the local materials throughout the city.

“Kansas City, all the civic buildings here, have these beautiful limestone facades, so we’re looking at making a nod to that materiality,” Pierce said.

Pierce said the check-in halls will have 68 check-in counters, 72 self-service kiosks and 18 security lanes. Beyond the gates, the terminal will have a 4,500 square foot business lounge and a “town square” with performance space, local restaurants and retail.

One of the areas of most interest at community design workshops last winter were the restrooms.

In prior design workshops, Kansas City residents have stressed the importance of convenient restrooms. Conceptual designs include "outswinging" doors to easily bring luggage into a restroom stall.
Credit Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate

There are currently 63 bathroom fixtures beyond security at KCI. The new terminal will have 130 — complete with “outswinging” doors so people can easily bring luggage into the bathroom stalls.

One thing that didn’t make it into this round of designs was an indoor, two-story fountain. Pierce said the initial location of the fountain — right in the middle of the check-in hall would not have allowed passengers to get efficiently through security.

“We are at the moment looking for locations to put that water feature and make it central to passenger experience,” Pierce said.

“This is the city of fountains, we deserve to have a really strong water feature that’s part of the terminal.”

Pierce said these are still conceptual designs. Edgemoor managing director Geoff Stricker said they’ve scheduled seven community meetings in September where people can give feedback.

Construction timeline and labor agreement

Construction is on hold until an environmental assessment is completed. Edgemoor believes that will be done by the end of September.

Once the FAA signs off, then they can begin on phase one of construction — demolition of Terminal A.

A representative from the construction team of Clark Weitz Clarkson said he expect that to take two to three months.

Also new is a final labor agreement. City officials have been pressing for an agreement with unions for months.

Non-union minority-owned and women-owned businesses will be exempted, meaning they can still participate in the project.

A labor management committee will be established to ensure communication with various union leaders and project leaders and to resolve issues that come up during construction.

Three-week look ahead

In the next few weeks, Edgemoor will be holding more community input sessions for people to learn more about the project.

Edgemoor will also meet with the state historical preservation office and the Osage tribe regarding the environmental assessment.

SOM hoped to finalize the concept designed by the end of August so they can present a package to the airlines for budget approval.

There will also be a project review with The Transportation Security Administration in the first week of September.  

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.