Barnstable Municipal Builds New Terminal & Looks to the Future

Jodi Richards
Published in: 


Project: New Terminal & Associated Improvements

Location: Barnstable Municipal Airport (Hyannis, MA)

Total Cost: $40 million

Air Traffic Control Tower: $7 million

Tower Funding: FAA

Terminal Cost: $17.6 million

Terminal Funding: $13.1 million from MA Dept. of Transportation grant; $1.7 million general obligation note by Town of Barnstable; airport reserves

Related Projects: New vehicle access road; aircraft apron improvements

Terminal Architect/Interior Designer/Civil Engineers: AECOM Technical Services

Terminal & Control Tower Construction:
Suffolk Construction Co.

Control Tower Architect & Engineer: CTBX Aviation

Environmental & Civil Engineers: Horsley Witten

Syska & Hennessy

Structural Engineers:
Lin Associates

Signage: Roll Barresi & Associates; Design Communications Ltd.

Landscape Architect: Brown, Richardson & Rowe

Acoustical Engineers: Cavanaugh Tocci Associates

Architectural Support: Brown Lindquist Fenuccio
& Raber

Survey Work: Nitsch Engineering

Hazmat Engineers: Diversified

Geotechnical Engineers: ATC Engineering

Cost Estimating:
Rider Levett Bucknell

Baggage System Design: Cage

Fireproofing: East Coast Fireproofing Co.

Fire Protection:
AAA Sprinkler Co.

Allied Waterproofing

Vertical Lifts:
Associated Elevator Co.

Structural Steel/Misc. Metals: Capone Iron Corp.

Drywall: Century Drywall

Electrical: E.W. Audet & Sons

HVAC: General Mechanical Contractors

Plumbing: Harold Brothers Mechanical

Tel/Data Security: Interconnect Computer Cabling

Paint: John W Egan Co.

Acoustical Ceilings:
K&K Acoustical Ceilings

Site Work: K.R. Rezendes

Access Flooring: Longden Co.

Concrete: Marguerite Concrete

Masonry: Marmelo Bros. Construction Co.

Tile: McLaughlin Marble
& Tile Co.

Carpet/Vinyl Composite Tile: Merrimac Tile Co.

Glazing: Modern Glass & Aluminum

Access Road &
Aircraft Ramp Design:

Jacobs Engineering

Access Road Construction: Lawrence Lynch Corp.

Demolition: NASDI

Precast Concrete:
Precast Specialties

Roofing: Stanley Roofing Co.

Canopies/Metal Panels: Sunrise Erectors

Millwork: Walter A. Furman Co.

Doors & Hardware:
West Hartford Lock

Fencing: Premier Fence

Access Control Equipment: Wolen

Website Flight Tracking System:

Roughly 20 years of planning culminated when Barnstable Municipal Airport (HYA) in Hyannis, MA, opened its new 35,000-square-foot terminal and 85-foot-tall air traffic control tower at the end of 2011. Airport Manager Roland "Bud" Breault says the $40 million in improvements were a long time coming, but HYA is now a modern facility ready for the future.

Associated upgrades grouped with construction of the new terminal include aircraft apron improvements and a new 3/4-mile vehicle access road.

Owned by the Town of Barnstable and managed by the Barnstable Municipal Airport Commission, HYA sits on 623 acres in Cape Cod and is the third busiest airport in the state. It is served by Cape Air, Nantucket Airlines and Island Airlines.

Planning for the recently completed improvements started nearly two decades ago with a commitment from the state to provide financial assistance. "And then it just suffered in limbo for a number of years," Breault recalls.

Both the former tower and terminal were more than 50 years old and suffering from deferred maintenance. With plans brewing to build new facilities, no one wanted to invest in fixing the existing structures, Breault explains. "That's a philosophy that lots of places use, and as a consequence, everything deteriorates," he says. "Nothing is improved, you don't maintain it and it just continues in a self-fulfilling prophecy."

In addition to being extremely dated, the facilities were not up to code - neither the tower nor the terminal had elevators, and both were full of asbestos.

Community Support

In early 2000, the planning and permitting process began again in earnest; and in 2007, the airport received permitting from the Cape Cod Commission, the local land-use planning agency. With that permission secured, the airport started preliminary design work; but it was still about two years before the project would come together. An unsuccessful lawsuit brought by one of HYA's neighbors also delayed the project.

"There were so many hurdles that had to be crossed," Breault relates. "And I don't think we had a whole lot of support from the community at one point in time."

Hiring a public relations consultant helped change that dynamic, he adds. Airport officials mounted a community outreach campaign, and conducted meetings, local presentations and media interviews about what they hoped to accomplish. Open communication and conveying that the modernization project would be an overall benefit, even amid an economic downturn, were the major objectives of the efforts.

Before the economic downturn, HYA enplanements were expected to increase to between 300,000 and 400,000 annual passengers. But the airport experienced a drastic decline, losing nearly 50% of its enplanements over the last five years, Breault reports. In response, the terminal once planned to be 55,000 square feet was scaled back to a more modest 35,000 square feet.

Breault cautions other airport operators to be careful in such cases, so items critical to operations are not "downsized out." HYA learned that lesson the hard way with its emergency generator. After the large unit was eliminated during the value-engineering process, the airport failed to pass the emergency power test needed to move into the new facility.

"That was critical," Breault recalls. "I had to do an emergency procurement to get an emergency generator in here that would, in fact, power the whole terminal."

He estimates that the situation cost the airport about $500,000.

Officials at AECOM, HYA's civil engineer and terminal architect, agree that it is crucial to carefully review changes made throughout extended projects before proceeding with full construction. "When you go through a long project, players change over time," explains Principal Architect James Kubat, AIA, LEED AP. "As a team, you have to sit down and look at the long list over the last three to four years and make sure that [the changes] are all still valid."

Another important aspect of getting the community on board with the project was outreach regarding noise abatement. Since HYA installed an flight tracking system, which is accessible from its website, noise complaints have dropped considerably. "We were fielding a couple thousand reports (annually) at one time," Breault recalls. "Now we're down to about 50 per year. They've finally seen that we are, in fact, trying to do what we can to reduce noise in the community; and I think that helped get some of the community people behind us."

Breault's previous term as a town administrator and more recent duties as the assistant director of public works for the town of Barnstable provided him experience with municipal construction - something he says helped him with the airport's improvement projects. He is also a retired Coast Guard pilot.

Clean Slate

The airport commission wanted a more "state-of-the art" terminal capable of handling current passenger loads and future growth. AECOM's design consequently left room between the main building and new tower to allow the terminal to expand between the two or in the opposite direction if the rental car parking area is relocated.

Kubat originally considered renovating the aging facility, but decided that replacing it was more cost-effective and best met the airport's goals. The new terminal opened to passengers in December 2011.

Compared to the old "cave-like" terminal, Breault says the new 35,000-square-foot facility is "open, airy and bright," and "more welcoming to the community."

AECOM incorporated as many sustainable design elements into the terminal as possible, Kubat notes. A white roof, for instance, reduces the heat island effect; the storm water management system uses bioswales and retention ponds. High-efficiency mechanical equipment and lighting were specified to decrease energy consumption, and daylighting strategies including the use of clerestories further boost the effort. And materials with recycled content and low volatile organic compounds were used liberally.

A stained concrete floor is not only sustainable, but also more budget-friendly than the originally planned terrazzo and lends to the airport's sense of place, Kubat explains. In Ticketing, the floor features brown tones that are reminiscent of Cape Cod sand. As travelers move into the terminal, the floors become lighter and change to blues and grays, representing water and sky. "Sense of place was huge for the project," he adds.

The curved roof of the new terminal reflects HYA's history as a military base, which had many curved-roof hangars. "We really simplified the overall exterior and interior of the building, but wanted to maintain the square footage and the functions of the building," Kubat explains.

While HYA did not seek certification via the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, it is working toward Energy Star certification and was recently honored with an environmental award from the Cape Light Compact, the electrical aggregator on Cape Cod. In addition to recognition, the award included about $60,000 of subsidies from the Cape Light Compact. "We've tried to make it as energy efficient as possible," Breault notes.

Tables and wooden benches from the old terminal were repurposed in the new terminal among the new, more modern airport seating. Airport staff offices are also outfitted with furniture from the previous terminal. "We just can't afford to go out and buy all that stuff new," relates Breault. "And it works - it gives the terminal a different ambiance."

Breault says the airport was "very frugal" during its improvement project and essentially finished within budget and only slightly behind schedule. The "unbelievable" amount of asbestos that crews encountered during the demolition cost roughly $500,000 to remove, an unexpected expense the airport was able to cover out of its reserves and with help from the FAA for tower demolition.

"I don't think anybody was planning on anywhere near the amount of asbestos that we ran into," he reflects.

While the airport has limited retail and concessions space, Breault says travelers have enjoyed its new restaurant, the Mad Platter, which also provides catering service throughout the region. In addition, a local artist leases about 350 square feet in the terminal for her art studio, where she paints and sells her work. It's a unique partnership Breault was originally skeptical about, but now appreciates. "It turned out to be a wonderful opportunity, and (the studio) creates a warm ambiance in the terminal," he notes. "And if she can pay her rent, I'm happy with it."

The airport's new art program taps into the significant artist community on Cape Cod. Currently, HYA is in its second iteration of displaying the work of 15 local artists throughout the terminal.

One unique challenge with the new terminal, Kubat says, was its requirement for two separate holdrooms: one for screened passengers on commercial flights and one for those on air taxi flights, who are not required to go through TSA screening. "That created a challenge on how you separate those passengers, for both departures and arrivals," he explains. The resulting configuration positions the ticketing counters in the middle of the building, with the open holdroom and screened passenger area flanking each side.

Beyond the Terminal

The new air traffic control tower at HYA is a five-story, 85-foot-tall structure expected to earn Silver or Gold LEED certification. The $7 million tower, which was designed by CTBX Aviation and fully funded by the FAA, went into service in November 2011.

The switchover occurred overnight, and demolition of the old tower began immediately, reports Breault. Demolition of the old tower and terminal made way for the ramp project, which will eventually include a new deicing pad that ties into the sewer system through equipment that separates out the oily water. Currently, deicing is performed with portable units at three separate locations on the airfield, and crews vacuum up residue - a labor-intensive and not very cost-effective method, notes Breault.

Parking improvements included in the overall improvement effort are already complete. A larger, brighter and fully paved parking lot replaced a partial-dirt space with a single light. HYA also added access control. "After 10 p.m., anybody could drive in and out and not pay us," Breault recalls. "We have fixed that, and it's a really nice parking lot now."

For the first time, HYA implemented a passenger facility charge (PFC) of $2 to be able to repay its $1.7 million bond for the project. "And now we may have to go in and relook at that to use it for other projects as well," Breault says. It has been more than 20 years since the airport's runways have been repaved and he estimates there will be some $30 million in paving projects in the next six years. "So we may have to do something more with a PFC charge again in the future," he adds.

The airport also instituted a customer facility charge to help improve rental car operations in the terminal.

A new access road was primarily funded by the FAA and state Department of Transportation highway funds. Each town in Massachusetts is eligible for funds to help repave and maintain roads and bridges throughout the state, and the Town of Barnstable agreed to allow the airport to use some of those funds on the town-owned access road, explains Breault.

Work in Progress

One of the biggest challenges of the project was phasing, because the new terminal was built next to the existing one, Kubat notes. Phasing was a "team approach," he says, with frequent meetings between the architect, contractor and airport. Coordination was especially important in the summer and when special events on Nantucket and other nearby islands caused a spike in airport traffic, he adds.

Because of the new terminal's proximity to the old, Breault acknowledges that the airport was "a mess for a while," and the construction may have had a negative impact on passengers. To lessen the impact, HYA and its construction partners displayed charts around the terminal that illustrated the phasing for the project. As work progressed, signs provided guidance to help travelers navigate. "We worked really hard with our general contractor to try to lessen the impact of the construction project and the phasing," Breault relates.

A portion of the north ramp was temporarily used for employee parking, and another temporary lot for rental cars was located on another portion of the ramp to make room for customers. "I think we lost a lot of revenue in there, because we had all these temporary lots, and you really can't control the parking that well with temporary lots," Breault recalls. "I think that we have 'stopped the bleeding,' so to speak, by the completion of the project." Parking revenue accounts for 7% to 10% of the airport's annual budget.

During the project, HYA lowered its parking rates because the airport wasn't providing its typical level of service, Breault notes.

Watch the Water

Because of HYA's location on the peninsula of Massachusetts, the airport faced many special environmental considerations during its improvement projects. Not surprisingly, many involved water. For instance: The local area receives its drinking water from a sole-source aquifer, and the airport is in a water recharge area. "Everything we do is scrutinized heavily from an environmental impact aspect," Breault explains.

HYA has been very responsive and proactive with environmental issues and has not had an EPA-reportable incident in more than three years, he adds.

During construction, retention ponds were installed to control stormwater drainage. The airport also has a cap on the amount of hazardous materials that can be on the entire airfield.

On another environmental front, the airport is partnering with the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative in hopes of installing a ground-mounted 30-acre solar photovoltaic system. The system, explains Breault, would provide the airport with "a considerable amount of revenue" and allow it to become more carbon neutral. Currently, HYA is waiting for FAA approval to move forward with the inside-the-fence project. 

Next on the Horizon

With its 20-year-old projects complete, the airport is looking forward and investing in the rest of the facility, Breault reports.

HYA is currently in the design process for a new fuel farm. The plan is to replace a 20,000-gallon underground jet fuel storage tank with an aboveground 60,000-gallon facility. In time, the airport may also try to consolidate all of its fueling facilities into one location, Breault adds. Two fixed-base operators (FBOs) on the field also have their own fuel storage facilities - one aboveground, one underground. Consolidating fuel storage would allow the airport to "reduce the potential impact of a spill," Breault notes.

The airport is also considering adding its own FBO. Currently, pilots and passengers who use the east ramp are accommodated in the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting building. "We've tried to upgrade that a little bit, but I think we're looking at adding in a small FBO facility of our own so we can provide better service," Breault says.

Recently, the airport implemented a jet fuel discount program based on volume to solicit more sales from the general aviation aircraft that frequent HYA. The airport has signed a contract with NetJets, the large network of fractionally owned private jets, and is preparing to sign with another carrier, reports Breault.

In addition, the airport is considering adding roughly 150,000 square feet of additional hangar space, as well as ramp space for general aviation purposes. In the meantime, it continues to evaluate other airport lands to "perhaps reuse them in a better way to try to generate new sources of revenue," adds Breault.

Recent and future improvement projects seem to have spurred activity around the airport, he notes: "There have been (new) businesses that have popped up, and there are others that are making efforts to beautify and enhance their buildings." As an economic engine in the region, HYA is directly responsible for generating $133 million of annual revenue, with direct impact on the region from nearly 2,250 jobs and a payroll of $74.4 million. Its total economic output is about $228 million.

Breault estimates current enplanements at 105,000 annually. When he arrived at HYA nearly four years ago, they were close to 170,000. Five years earlier, they were more than 200,000, with projections to reach nearly 400,000 if the economy continued to grow. "We've sort of reached an equilibrium point," Breault reflects. "We've noticed that with air operations, that sort of bottomed out and it's starting to come back a little bit; and we're hoping that's a good trend."


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