Eagle Airport construction hits home stretch | AspenTimes.com

Eagle Airport construction hits home stretch

Pam Boyd
Vail Daily
Eagle County commissioners Jeanne McQueeney, Matt Scherr and Kathy Chandler-Henry tour the Eagle County Regional Airport construction site. One of the new jet bridges at the facility can be spotted in the background.
Ken Nager | Special to the Daily

GYPSUM — The construction site at the new Eagle County Regional Airport terminal is bustling as dozens of workers hone in on finishing work for the $35 million project.

According to Josh Miller, Eagle County construction manager, the new terminal will open for business in just over a month.

“This is the time when everything starts happening fast,” Miller said. “Crews are working six to seven days per week to make sure we get it finished.”

There is a hard deadline for the airport construction.

“On July 1, we will board aircraft from the new jet bridges,” Miller said. “In the morning, we will load flights out of the temporary facility, but that afternoon, jets will fly out of the new terminal.”

Under the direction of general contractor Hensel Phelps, crews have been at work on the new 47,239-square-foot terminal for more than a year. The project includes six new gates — four connected to jet bridges and two ground gates.

A new 17,336-square-foot ground services area, which includes improved baggage handling equipment, is located underneath the second story terminal space. All told, the total building floor after the expansion will be nearly 120,000 feet, not including the ground service equipment area. It replaces a previous 93,000-square-foot structure.

The budget for the project has grown over the past year as new work was added. A Federal Aviation Administration grant is financing the majority of the construction, with the majority of Eagle County’s match coming from airport revenue.

Home stretch

“The building is completely dried in at this point and all of the glass curtain wall is in,” Miller said.

That glass wall offers a panoramic view to the north for airport travelers that Miller said “is going to be unparalleled.”

That’s just one of the amenities on tap.

The terminal design features an expansive lounge anchored with a large two-sided gas fireplace, a bar area serviced by a full commercial kitchen, waiting areas at all six gates, a spacious TSA screening area and even a pet relief room.

“We are even putting a fake fire hydrant in there for dogs to use,” Miller said. “It’s a pretty spectacular space. It’s going to be an impressive terminal.”

One of the biggest improvements at the site is the installation of jet bridges, which means travelers will no longer have to deal with outdoor conditions when they board or depart from flights. The bridges have been installed, and in early June, airport and airline personnel will be trained to operate them.

While the big reveal of the terminal space happens this summer, construction at the site will continue as crews dismantle temporary facilities at the site to complete the building. That next phase of construction will be done by Dec. 1, in time for the busy winter season.

Eagle County officials are betting that tourists who fly into the facility next ski season will be pleasantly surprised with the changes.

“It’s all going to be great for the traveling public,” Miller concluded.