Federal Shutdown Holds Up KCI Terminal Approvals, So Council Checks Out Some Design Ideas
There were visual aids and talk of a site visit on Thursday, but still no indication when the city can break ground on the new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport.
Instead, city councilmembers on the airport committee saw a few new images of concession and retail areas and an idea for how to incorporate some elements of the old terminals into the new one.
The airlines serving the airport still haven’t signed an agreement committing to a price, which has been increasing, for the new terminal. But Aviation Director Pat Klein said those talks are going well. That didn’t satisfy councilwoman Teresa Loar.
“At some point the council needs to know if there’s a problem and if there’s a problem, what we can do about it,” Loar said. “But I guess we’ll give them another week and see where things go.”
Klein said the partial government shutdown is affecting approval of the required environmental assessment. And until the Federal Aviation Administration signs off on that, no construction work can begin and the design is stuck in a conceptual phase.
As far as normal airport operations, Klein said KCI’s security is manned by contractors, not federal employees. They have been paid through January, he said, but if the "shutdown goes into February, it will affect our contract workers.”
Councilmembers were able to look at renderings for amenities at the new terminal. Most of the food and retail will be beyond security — a significant change from the current configuration.
Jordan Pierce, an architect with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, also floated a working idea of how to repurpose the terrazzo floors and mosaic medallions that decorate the current terminals. He said they would cut out each of the 39 medallions in Terminal A and place one at each gate of the new terminal, which will have 39 gates. Although the process is costly and labor-intensive, it would salvage some of the distinctive touches.
The airport committee is planning a trip to the airport soon to see what work is happening on-site before construction begins. They’ll meet for another progress report next week.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3 Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig.