Terminal Makeover Finally a Reality at Anchorage Int'l

Kathy Hamilton
Published in: 

After more than a decade of design, demolition and construction, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is hosting travelers in a completely renovated terminal.

Facts & Figures

Project: Terminal Renovation

Location: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

Concourses: A & B

Owner/Operator: Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

Cost: $200 million

Construction Manager-at-Risk: PCL Construction Services

Program Manager: Parsons Brinckerhoff

Architect/Designer: RIM Architects, RIM Design

Aviation Planning/Design Consultant:  HNTB Corp.

Seismic Retrofit/Structural Engineers: Reid Middleton

Building Laser Scan: ScanWorks

Mechanical/Electrical Engineering: PDC Consulting Engineers

Baggage Handling System Design: CAGE

Civil Engineers: DOWL HKM

Key Benefits: Centralized security, improved seismic safety, increased passenger convenience and improved aesthetics

The two-year, $200 million renovation of Concourses A and B was completed in November 2009. Its completion marked the end of a half-billion dollar overhaul of the airport's domestic South Terminal, which dated back to 1998. The first phase of the project, Concourse C, was completed in 2004 for $300 million.

"It's been a long road," says Christine Klein, deputy commissioner for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. "Considering the obstacles encountered along the way, we're particularly excited about achieving this milestone in the airport's history."

40 is Not the New 20

At more than 40 years old, Concourse B needed to be brought up to new building code standards, including a seismic retrofit. RIM Architects, lead consultant and architect of record for the renovation of Concourses A and B, called for updates of electrical, plumbing and other operating systems.

"There were areas in Concourse B that were very uncomfortable, with no space to circulate," recalls Steve Kushner, project manager for RIM.

Concourse A is 15 years younger than B, and required less work to bring up to code; but both needed building system upgrades. Overhaul of the 371,000-square-foot area that encompasses both concourses included a centrally located TSA screening space, expanded baggage claim areas and bathroom remodels. Major upgrades of HVAC, mechanical, electrical and telecommunications systems were also needed. A new baggage handling system (BHS) and building security system were other primary elements, while various architectural and interior design flourishes rounded out the project.

Steve Kushner

Both concourses needed "facelifts" to elevate their service and amenities to match Concourse C, summarizes James Dougherty, RIM's principal-in-charge.

Aviation planning and design consultant HNTB worked with RIM Architects and Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), the program manager, to plan the renovations. Together, the companies focused on programming, rightsizing and making sure all elements of the reinvented structure worked together. PB managed the numerous contracts and provided construction oversight. PCL Construction Services acted as the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) and provided demolition and abatement service, installed structural upgrades and glazing, implemented seismic upgrades developed by Reid Middleton, and completed architectural finishes, roofing and mechanical/electrical system upgrades. And throughout it all, the airport remained fully occupied and functional.

James Dougherty

Under Alaska's "One Percent for Art in Public Places" program, the airport commissioned four pieces of art for the renovated facilities. "In addition to unique pieces, like "Migration," an 8-foot-long, individually cut and fused glass panel representing a river and swimming salmon, we have an extensive collection of museum quality Native Alaskan art," says Klein.

What Took So Long?

In a land that boasts North America's highest peak, grizzly bears and glaciers, people are used to challenges on a large scale. And the ANC project presented plenty.

The first half of the project (the Concourse C overhaul) was fraught with complications that drew the design and construction out for about six years.

"ANC is state-owned," Klein explains, "so we have more approval layers than airports that are governed by a single entity, such as an airport commission." The extra layers, she notes, slowed the renovation project's funding approvals, design changes, permits and other contracting issues.

The addition of post-9/11 security regulations delayed the project for about a year.

"Major building foundations were already completed and structural steel erection was well underway when 9/11 occurred," recalls Klein, who was airport facilities manager at the time. "The project design had been completed and the building completion construction contract had already been awarded."

Part of the core terminal had to be redesigned for baggage screening, which added expense and time to the project. "We had to accommodate an unplanned-for, 30,000-square-foot baggage screening area, upgrade our entire electrical system and install a new transformer to accommodate the BHS," laments Klein. "TSA was brand new, with frequent changes in contractors and management, compelling ANC to hire a baggage screening consultant to lead the effort."

In addition, a large portion of the workforce responsible for commissioning and operating ANC's new facilities and equipment were approaching retirement about the time Concourse C would be completed - just when they would be needed most. Klein's advice: "Add 'commissioning' as a project task, and make sure your workforce is prepared to take on the new technology and participate in commissioning." Many staff members chose to postpone retirement to see the project to completion. Regardless, "much more thought was devoted to commissioning on the second half of the ANC renovations, and it has paid off," she notes.

Improving the System

Klein believes that many of the issues encountered during the Concourse C renovation could have been avoided if the airport had adopted a CMAR project delivery method. "Comparing the first and second halves of the project, it was clear that using CM at Risk was 100% more successful for our situation," she relates. "The contractor worked with us on design and changes as they came up. They took on a lot of the risk, so they had a larger stake in the project coming in on time and within budget." 

Dougherty agrees: "CM at Risk was a good move on the part of the state, and perfect for a major renovation project like this where there's great benefit in being able to think on your feet and move quickly when the unexpected happens."

As CMAR, PCL was involved from the project's inception. "That gave us the opportunity to understand all stakeholders' needs, minimize disruption and meet all project goals," explains PCL construction manager Scott Ivany.

An Alaska-Size Project

Demolished & 99% Recycled

• 3,500 tons of concrete

• 455 tons of metal


• 950 tons of structural steel

• 3,000 cubic yards of concrete

• 36.3 miles of electrical conduit

• 10.8 miles of metal piping

• 10,300 square feet of glass

• 84,000 square feet of granite flooring

• 9,000 square yards of carpeting

• ½ mile of baggage conveyors

During the second half of renovations, the project team had to schedule work to avoid disrupting operations, temporarily relocate airlines to another terminal, relocate and/or close concessions and set up temporary concession kiosks. Accomplishing a major renovation inside an operating airport terminal presented a multitude of challenges, says John Faunce, PB's Anchorage project manager. Phasing construction to allow airport operations to continue during major structural modifications, asbestos abatement and other construction was one of the most formidable challenges, recalls Faunce. After areas were completed, PB provided activation support to help tenants set up and use their new spaces.

Planning and design consultant HNTB had its own set of project challenges. "We had to build within the existing footprint in addition to making a 40-year-old building look as good as the new Concourse C - at half the price per square foot," relates Joseph Grogan, HNTB's aviation facilities planner.  


It ultimately proved more efficient to simply demolish the upper story of Concourse B and rebuild it. During demolition and construction, PCL innovatively used truck liner material to protect the terminal's emergency power system, which was located on the lower level.

"Within the constraints of not being able to change floor levels, we transformed some very cramped spaces into one large space that's free-flowing and comfortable," says Dougherty. "The real success is that we were able to achieve a great architectural building that meets all requirements for security and safety on a limited budget."

To prepare for work in the terminal's industrial "back of house" areas, PCL hired ScanWorks to laser-scan the core and shell and create an accurate three-dimensional electronic as-built. ScanWorks discovered 245 conflicts between the record drawings and on-site conditions, including existing conduit and structural columns running through the proposed path of the new conveyor system. By working with PCL and the design team to understand the project in three dimensions, the team was able to resolve existing problems without creating new ones, explains ScanWorks general manager Jose Mesa.

Joe Grogan

It was also a pioneering use of the technology for commercial construction in Alaska. "We directed the baggage handling contractor to create a building information model (BIM) of the baggage handling system, and then overlaid their model with the scan-generated as-built model," explains Ivany. "This allowed us to identify conflicts and modify either the BHS layout or the existing structure before beginning construction."

Modifying the BHS design before the conveyor was built, he adds, saved months of delay and "enormous" expense that would have been incurred if components had been redesigned and remanufactured midway through construction.

"The Anchorage project was a perfect example of how a BIM collaboration can reduce the inherent risks of a major renovation," Mesa notes.

Christine Klein

Shop Till You … Depart

Recent renovations provide ANC customers the convenience of passing between Concourses B and C without having to go through screening again. This allows them the leisure to shop freely at more than 15 concessions and restaurants. And more are on the way.

"A lot of thought went into providing maximum visibility for concessions," says Klein.

Apparently, all the planning worked. Even with its relatively low passenger numbers, ANC is ranked 24th among North American and International airports for total concession sales.


2022 Charlotte Douglas International Airport Report of Achievement

Giving back to the community is central to what Charlotte Douglas International Airport and its operator, the City of Charlotte Aviation Department, is about, and last year was no different. 

Throughout 2022, while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued our efforts to have a positive impact on the Charlotte community. Of particular note, we spent the year sharing stories of how Connections Don't Just Happen at the Terminal - from creating homeownership and employment opportunities to supporting economic growth through small-business development and offering outreach programs to help residents understand the Airport better.

This whitepaper highlights the construction projects, initiatives, programs and events that validate Charlotte Douglas as a premier airport.

Download the whitepaper: 2022 Charlotte Douglas International Airport Report of Achievement.



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