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Terminal design wins favor

By Burk Krohe

City commissioners reviewed three potential designs for an expanded airport terminal Tuesday. They favored one that they felt best characterized the region.

Expansion of the terminal is in response to growth at the airport predicted by a “terminal area master plan.” Mead and Hunt engineering firm prepared the designs, which will expand the airport terminal in four phases over more than a decade.

Airport officials estimate construction of the first three phases of the terminal expansion will cost about $11.3 million. However, a percentage of those costs are expected to be paid by federal funds. The final phase isn’t planned for design and construction until 2025.

Commissioners favored the “rolling roofs” design. Officials from Mead and Hunt said with curved roofs mimicking hills, it incorporates the regional identity of the Flint Hills. They also noted most residents who attended an airport expansion open house preferred the design.

“I do like the rolling roof design,” Commissioner Jim Sherow said to airport director Peter Van Kuren. “When I was going through this at first, that’s the one that jumped out at me.”

Sherow said he was pleased to see the Flint Hills reflected in the design. He also praised plans for an atrium area that will allow people to gather and wait in comfort. Commissioner Wynn Butler added that it was smart to phase the project. Butler said it was better than trying to bite it all off at once.

The first three phases are planned into 2015 and would involve demolition of much of the existing terminal with a significant expansion of terminal space.

However, commissioners were concerned about the availability of food in the terminal. Mead and Hunt’s plans only showed restaurant space outside of the security checkpoint. Mayor Loren Pepperd said people will want something more than vending machines past the security checkpoint, particularly if flights are delayed.

“I think you better look hard at that area,” Pepperd said.

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