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KCI Is Starting To Show Off Its New, Sunnier, $1.5 Billion 21st Century Terminal

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Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR 89.3
A media tour Tuesday of the “headhouse” where ticketing and security points will be located inside the new KCI terminal. A raised roadway separates the terminal from the parking garage that offers nearly 6,200 spaces and 60 electric car-charging stations.

Airport and construction officials at Kansas City International Airport showed off progress Tuesday on the new terminal.

An enthusiastic Jade Liska stood, smiling, on an unfinished concrete subfloor Tuesday afternoon.

Behind him, 25 Y-shaped supports stood unfinished, marking the entrance of what will become the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

“This is the front door to the new Kansas City International Airport,” said the deputy director of aviation at KCI ”This is a remarkable feeling for everyone to come in off the curb.”

He and other city officials say the $1.5 billion project — now at its halfway point — is on time and on schedule.

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Carlos Moreno
A Southwest Airlines passenger jet takes off from KCI on Tuesday afternoon as seen from what will be part of concourse B at the new terminal. Part of the glass enclosure at left is an example of much of the construction at the facility that brings in more natural light.

Liska said the 732-foot departure area will be filled with light from skylights and glass walls. A wood-slat ceiling will cover the area, allowing more natural light to stream in. He said art will be featured across the entire terminal.

Liska was one of several airport and construction officials giving journalists a look Tuesday into the progress of the new terminal. The tour focused on four primary areas: the headhouse (ticketing and security), the concourse connector, a retail node and a concourse/passenger gate lounge.

Construction started in March 2019. It's scheduled to be completed in March 2023.

For now, the new terminal resembles a mass of unfinished construction materials, scaffolding and equipment pieces slowly coming together to resemble the skeleton of the massive project.

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Carlos Moreno
Airport and Edgemoor Infrastructure officials at the retail node inside the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport on Tuesday. In addition to shops and restaurants accessible from all concourses, artwork will decorate the area, including a fountain-type sculpture.

But officials giving the tour described the building as if they were standing in the final product. They uniformly expressed excitement about the potential for moving passengers much more efficiently than before.

“So the opportunities to find the efficiencies and the flexibility for the visiting public and the travelers alike, this is the new Kansas City international airport and it’s awesome,” Liska said.

Dan Moylan, director of development for Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate, extolled the aesthetics of the building — including the abundance of natural light.

He said the even boarding bridges will be made with glass.

“When it’s complete, Kansas City will be the largest all-glass boarding bridge terminal in the United States,” Moylan said.

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Carlos Moreno
Justin Meyer, deputy director of aviation, talks about the concourse B inside the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport. Arriving and departing passengers will have abundant seating, connections, amenities; plus they will arrive and depart inside a glass boarding bridge.

Terry Cassidy, principal with Paslay Management Group spoke from the middle of the concourse connector — another part of the building that will be lined with glass, offering passengers a place to stop and rest between concourses. They will be able to view artwork, learn about aviation history as well as see air traffic outside.

Beneath the 630-foot connector bridge will be dual taxi lanes on the airfield allowing large jets to move both directions at the same time to avoid traffic jams.

“The customer service in this building will be light years ahead of the old buildings,” Cassidy said. “It’s going to be a nice area where people can just hang out.”

But not everything will be shiny and new. Designers are incorporating some of the remnants of the old terminal. Some of the existing terrazza medallions from the old terminals will be installed. Liska said there will still be some familiar pieces local travelers will recognize.

“They’ll have the same ideas and some of that flavor of what Kansas City has always been about,” he said.

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