Jackson International Airport Receives $10.1M Facelift

Thu November 11, 2004 - Southeast Edition
Maybelle G. Cagle

The sounds of construction are becoming as familiar as the sounds of planes at Jackson International Airport just outside Mississippi’s capitol city, where $13.5 million in projects are under way and nearing completion.

This includes a $10.1 million makeover of the passenger terminal and a $3.4 million, 40,000 sq. ft. international cargo facility.

Dirk Vanderleest, executive director of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA), said renovations were needed because “the building is getting older. There’s a lot of wear and tear.”

Vanderleest added that the first impression of the state and capitol city is often the airport and it is critical to update facilities.

Terminal renovations began in June and are expected to take 730 days to complete. These renovations include replacing the stairwell on the east with an escalator and adding an elevator on that side.

Vanderleest said the stairwell on the west side will be removed and the circa-1960s escalator will be widened.

Hudson News and Gifts, which is based in New York, will renovate and manage the airport gift shops. A public community room with a 100-seat capacity will open on the third floor, said Vanderleest.

Other parts of the project include installation of electronic displays for a computer automated Flight Information Display System to allow patrons to view arrival and departure information.

Perhaps the most significant feature of the renovation project, in terms of logistics, is upgrading all public restrooms. The new work includes the addition of family assistance restrooms throughout the building for the disabled and families with small children.

Architect Bob Canizaro, of Canizaro, Cawthon, Davis –– a Jackson architectural firm that has previously done work for the airport –– said the work on the restrooms includes building new facilities while leaving existing ones in use until the new accommodations are finished.

The design had to deal with the complexity of renovating an existing building and the overlapping needs of tenants, management and general public. The work is being done to inconvenience the public as little as possible.

“The terminal renovations have required an extensive amount of planning and coordination with tenants,” said Vanderleest.

Yates Construction is the prime contractor for the project and was selected through competitive bidding.

“Work has begun on the addition of a restroom in the west concourse along with the commencement of the construction of a new elevator in the east concourse area,” said Mike Stinson, vice president of Yates. “Temporary partitions are being installed in select areas for construction.

“There are 10-15 personnel working at the site. The work schedule is based on normal operating hours, except for special conditions, which are being coordinated with the airport authority,” Stinson added.

He also noted that the biggest challenge has been close coordination of day-to-day operations of a busy airport and construction activities.

For the second project, the JMAA Board selected Aviation Facilities Company Inc. (AFCO) to develop Phase 1 of the Mississippi Air Cargo Logistics Center at the airport.

Under the terms of the 40-year ground lease finalized in late April, AFCO will finance, develop, construct, manage and operate the facility.

David Percy, AFCO vice president, who is headquartered in McLean, VA, led the AFCO team in negotiations with JMAA. The facility will be located on Highway 475 adjacent to the airport’s newly completed 450,000 sq. ft. aircraft apron.

“AFCO approached this project with three main objectives,” said Percy. “To integrate some of the airport’s main features into the design of the new cargo building, to maximize the number of cargo doors on the landslide and to also select construction materials that allow for the flexibility of deleting overhead and personnel doors as the tenants may need in the future. In addition, the material selected should require minimum maintenance and be available for a fast track project.”

The exterior appearance of the building is designed to blend with other airport facilities. AFCO used the white/green color combination metal panels with a green standing seam roof. AFCO, in an effort to differentiate the office bay, used brick façade at the office bay with aluminum windows and fabric canopies.

Ahed Shakhsheer, AFCO vice president of design and construction, said, “The building plan is being set up for maximum flexibility now and for future use. The building frame is being set up so doors can be added or deleted with minimal effort. Utility lines are being specifically placed to allow easy access for connections and simplified future remodeling.”

Other firms working on the job include Fountain Construction, general contractor; Dean & Dean Architects, project architect; Waggoner Engineering, civil engineer; Andy Covington Engineering, electrical engineer; Scott C. Woods & Associates, mechanical engineer; Burns Cooley Dennis, geo-technical consultant and Advance Environmental Consultants, environmental consultant. All companies with the exception of AFCO are based in Jackson.