YVRA construction running on schedule
A new addition to Yampa Valley Regional Airport should be ready for departing passengers when the first ski season jet flights begin operating Dec. 12.
“Construction is pretty much on schedule,” airport manager Jim Parker said Tuesday. “All of the steel has been erected, the roof decking is on, and they’re framing the walls and the roof parapets. The concrete floor is in, and the (plumbing) for the fire sprinklers is 80 percent complete.”
Snow Country Construction is the contractor for the $765,000 project ,which is 90 percent funded by the federal government.
The new addition to the baggage check-in area will mean departing passengers will not have to go through security screening of their checked luggage in a heated tent, as they did last winter.
“It should improve passengers’ comfort level and remove some anxiety,” Parker said. “Last winter, they couldn’t see the ticket counter (while their luggage was being screened).”
When the federal government mandated checked-luggage screening for explosives in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the terminal at YVRA wasn’t big enough to accommodate federal screeners indoors. The county commissioners turned to rental tents as a temporary solution.
County Manager Tom Sullivan said the exterior finish on the new departure area will be much more attractive than the old building, and will include stone work and wood timbers over the entrance.
“It’s going to be a big, open building with a skylight to add more natural light,” Sullivan said.
The entrance will provide visual clues that will guide departing passengers in the right direction, Sullivan said. And new signage will be installed in preparation for winter.
However, permanent improvements to the vehicle and pedestrian flow in the parking lots in front of the airport will wait until the summer of 2005. That’s when the county plans to begin Phase II of the airport terminal expansion project.
The second phase includes a major expansion to the ticketing area at the airport, and the addition will be built where traffic lanes currently exist. Arrival lanes will be constructed for commercial and private vehicles, meaning improvements made this year would be moot in just a couple of years, Sullivan said.
Marty Kolonel of the Yampa Valley Airport Commission said Phase I of the terminal improvements is the first step toward improving the impression the airport makes on visitors, as well as improving its functionality.
“It’s going to make the departure experience far more comfortable than in the past,” Kolonel said. “Until we get the whole thing done, it’s a step. We’re getting way too many negative comments and it’s the last impression we make.”
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