To minimize the expense of building a new apron and associated taxiways, Duluth International Airport elected to locate its $62-million passenger terminal immediately south of the structure it was intended to replace, challenging project team members to promote safe operations throughout construction.

Planners placed particular emphasis on the safety of arriving passengers, constructing a pedestrian tunnel to ensure they didn't inadvertently encounter sitework. The construction manager also developed a phasing plan to promote safe movement of construction equipment adjacent to an operating airfield.

Additionally, the construction manager and the owner performed daily inspections of airfield pavement to ensure that construction debris or foreign objects didn't compromise aircraft.

From the project's inception, team members collaborated to create the most efficient and sustainable heating and cooling system possible without compromising occupant comfort during harsh winter months. The resulting plan includes a triple-glazed "acoustic curtain wall" and a radiant "airfloor" incorporating underfloor cavities for distribution of fresh air in larger public spaces. As a result of a geothermal well that meets 75% of heating requirements and 100% of cooling loads, operators expect to achieve a 3.19-ton reduction in CO2 emissions over the system's projected 40-year life.

The completed facility features a large glass pavilion on its landside, with simple, logical allocation of space for arriving and departing passengers. An airside hold room features large open spaces bathed in natural light. Sandwiched between the two is a three-story stack of services, offices, baggage facilities and information technology support rendered as an opaque mass. The terminal's curved roof is intended to mirror the waves of nearby Lake Superior.

Duluth International Airport New Passenger Terminal, Duluth, Minn.

Key Players

Owner Duluth Airport Authority, Duluth, Minn.

CM Kraus-Anderson Construction Co., Duluth, Minn.

Designer Reynolds, Smith & Hills Inc., Duluth, Minn.