In seven years, Salt Lake International Airport will have a sleek, new terminal building that officials say will make the traveling experience eminently more enjoyable for passengers.
An innovative split-level roof and massive glass windows will allow sunlight and scenic mountain vistas to envelop the 830,000-square-foot terminal. It will be constructed by 2005 during the first phase of the airport's 20-year, $1.7 billion expansion plan.Light-rail cars will bring passengers within a short walk of the terminal entrance, and people-mover trains will shuttle them between two concourses. The ticketing lobby will be much wider and a separate hallway behind the counters will help move people through the terminal with fewer delays.
The walkways will be designed so that arriving passengers can leave their plane, pick up their bags and reach the main roadway outside the terminal without going up or down a level.
"We are treating the arriving passenger with the greatest respect because we want them to have a great first impression," Mayor Deedee Corradini said Thursday after the terminal design - four months in the making - was presented to the Airport Authority board of directors.
The $188 million terminal building, which will replace the two existing terminals, will be built as part of the eight-year, $994 million first phase of the ambitious expansion plan. Another $319 million will be spent on two concourses - one attached to the main terminal and a satellite concourse connected by the people mover - to expand airline capacity and ease aircraft movement.
The terminal design will be introduced to the public Thursday night at the airport's International Arrivals Building. Models and computer-generated conceptions will be on display 5 to 6:30 p.m. The airport authority wants feedback from Utahns before approving the design.
A 12-member community design team worked with two architectural firms, HNTB Corp. and Gensler Associates, to create a new terminal that would reflect the needs and personality of the region.
The terminal will have four levels with a significant increase in space for retail businesses, officials said. The concourses will include parking positions for 55 large jets and 19 smaller, regional aircraft.
The south concourse, connected directly to the terminal, will have 23 of those gates, including wide-body positions for international flights. Only the west half of the south concourse will be constructed during phase one.
The airport authority plans to borrow about $429 million of the $994 million to pay for the first of three construction phases. About $250 million will come from passenger facility charges - the $3 fee collected each time a ticket is purchased. Another $150 million is expected to come from federal Airport Improvement Program grants, although those funds are not guaranteed.
The airport will kick in $105 million from its operating revenues, leaving $10 million a year for capital costs unrelated to the development plan. The airlines are expected to chip in another $60 million in facility improvements, although airline officials - including representatives of hub carrier Delta Air Lines - have not officially endorsed the expansion.