AIMING HIGH: THE FIRST NEW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN THE 21ST CENTURY.

Author:Sturzenegger, Kathy
 
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The Salt Lake City airport was built almost 50 years ago to accommodate half as many travellers as it gets today. With over 24 million people coming and going each year, the airport is in desperate need of a facelift. However, the scope of SLC's facility expansion goes far beyond essential upgrades, such as security, capacity and safety: travelers will see improvements in convenience, functionality and efficiency--improvements that will have a major impact on the state for years to come.

A WHOLE REBUILD

A lot has changed since the 60s. SLC has become a true international travel hub. While some of the facilities have become obsolete and are on the brink of falling behind in protocol, such as modern earthquake safety standards, Salt Lake City has been preparing for this day for years. "The project has been on the drawing board for a while, as far back as the 90s," says Nancy Volmer, director of communication and marketing at Salt Lake Department of Airports.

But such a huge undertaking can't just focus on the short-term, so SLC's new design will be flexible enough to meet the airport's needs for decades to come. Volmer explains, "This a complete rebuild. This will be the first hub airport built in the 2lst century. We are master planning. It will be something that the local community will be proud of."

One of the biggest priorities of the expansion is convenience. There will be one central terminal and security checkpoint with separate arrival and departure levels. The airport will become easier to navigate and gate areas will be more spacious than ever before. Travellers will also find more shops and restaurants, charging stations, twice as much parking and easy access to TRAX while enjoying huge art installations that reflect local Utah culture and large windows that bring in natural light and highlight beautiful mountain views.

The new design will also be more efficient--reducing airplane bottlenecks and flight delays--and more sustainable, striving to meet LEED Gold rating standards from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Such a huge project comes with a hefty price tag--something to the sum of $3.6 billion. However, SLC is one of the most cost-effective airports in the nation with no debt and a large savings, so the entire project is being funded by bonds and airline and passenger fees. Translation: no local tax dollars are being used for the expansion. And replacing aging facilities will keep costs low, so passengers can expect a...

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