New KCI terminal planners looking into possible COVID-19 design changes

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Construction is full steam ahead at Kansas City International Airport, as crews put up more than 2,200 steel beams that form a rough outline of the terminal.”The terminal is coming along on time and on budget,” said Kansas City Aviation Department spokesperson Joe McBride. “It’s really exciting to see it […]

Construction is full steam ahead at Kansas City International Airport, as crews put up more than 2,200 steel beams that form a rough outline of the terminal.”The terminal is coming along on time and on budget,” said Kansas City Aviation Department spokesperson Joe McBride. “It’s really exciting to see it coming out of the ground and starting to take shape.”There are some questions over what the inside shape of the airport will be, in what is hopefully a post-pandemic world, when the airport is completed in 2023.”I know that the designers, as they usually do, try to shift on the fly and look at what’s happening now and what’s going to happen in the future,” said McBride. “Certainly, they’re thinking about things like social distancing.”The leading design and architecture firm on the project, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, is just now starting to have those conversations.”The project is moving quite quickly,” said the firm’s managing director, Laura Ettelman. “We’ve finished most of our documentation and construction is ongoing. We’re sort of asking the questions.” Ettelman says there haven’t been any design changes at KCI yet, but it’s likely future airport designs around the world will be impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.”I think flexibility in our designs will be equally important,” she said. “It may drive us to free-span instead of having columns that define spaces so we can move things around better.”Although the pandemic has caused some projects to grind to a halt, it hasn’t slowed construction on the new terminal in Kansas City.”The differences you’ll see is the protocols with the workers,” said McBride. “When they’re traveling in vehicles together or working in close proximity, they need to be wearing masks.”If anything, McBride says, the pandemic has made construction work easier because there has been less air and vehicle traffic to work around. “The future is coming sooner than you think,” he said.For more details on the construction process, updates are posted regularly at buildkci.com.

Construction is full steam ahead at Kansas City International Airport, as crews put up more than 2,200 steel beams that form a rough outline of the terminal.

“The terminal is coming along on time and on budget,” said Kansas City Aviation Department spokesperson Joe McBride. “It’s really exciting to see it coming out of the ground and starting to take shape.”

There are some questions over what the inside shape of the airport will be, in what is hopefully a post-pandemic world, when the airport is completed in 2023.

“I know that the designers, as they usually do, try to shift on the fly and look at what’s happening now and what’s going to happen in the future,” said McBride. “Certainly, they’re thinking about things like social distancing.”

The leading design and architecture firm on the project, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, is just now starting to have those conversations.

“The project is moving quite quickly,” said the firm’s managing director, Laura Ettelman. “We’ve finished most of our documentation and construction is ongoing. We’re sort of asking the questions.”

Ettelman says there haven’t been any design changes at KCI yet, but it’s likely future airport designs around the world will be impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think flexibility in our designs will be equally important,” she said. “It may drive us to free-span instead of having columns that define spaces so we can move things around better.”

Although the pandemic has caused some projects to grind to a halt, it hasn’t slowed construction on the new terminal in Kansas City.

“The differences you’ll see is the protocols with the workers,” said McBride. “When they’re traveling in vehicles together or working in close proximity, they need to be wearing masks.”

If anything, McBride says, the pandemic has made construction work easier because there has been less air and vehicle traffic to work around.

“The future is coming sooner than you think,” he said.

For more details on the construction process, updates are posted regularly at buildkci.com.

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