Ford airport begins $45M construction project


A rendering of part of the Gateway Transformation project at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Courtesy Ford airport

Over the next 18 months, Gerald R. Ford International Airport will consolidate its security checkpoints and make other improvements to its facility, transforming the airport into a “contemporary reflection” of the market.

The construction, which will begin Monday, is the first of two phases of the airport’s $45-million Gateway Transformation project.

The total cost of phase one, including design, is $32 million.

Phase-one construction is scheduled to be completed by summer 2017.

“Our investment in this facility represents our commitment to improve customer service, amenities, infrastructure and technology with a contemporary reflection of West Michigan at our airport,” said Brian Ryks, executive director, Ford airport.

The Christman Company in Grand Rapids is the construction manager on phase one.

The airport said phase one is expected to utilize more than 140,000 hours of work, equating to about 90 full-time jobs. It is also expected to generate about $1.9 million for the local economy.

Phase one

Previously, both of the airport’s concourses had their own security-screening checkpoints, which travelers passed through as they entered Concourse A or B.

Following the consolidation, all passengers will go through a centralized security checkpoint, which will be located in the Grand Hall area of the airport.

The Grand Hall will be expanded to accommodate new retail and food and beverage space, which will be located just beyond the consolidated checkpoint, giving travelers more food and drink options after they’ve passed through security.

Phase one will also include new terrazzo flooring, lighting fixtures, restrooms, lactation stations and pre- and post-security business centers.

The airport also said Concourse A will be “undergoing construction during a phase of the project” to match remodeling completed on Concourse B in January 2015.

The airport is working with the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum to incorporate an exhibit dedicated to the 38th president, which will be located pre-security and part of the new Grand Hall design. The exhibit will include photos, displays and rotating historical pieces from the Ford family.

A reconstructed indoor observation area on the mezzanine of the Grand Hall, where passengers may see friends and loved ones depart for their flights, is also part of the construction plans.

Additionally, murals reflecting the art scene and interior finishes reflective of West Michigan are in the design scope.

Phase two

The airport said phase two will commence upon completion of phase one.

It will include improvements to airline ticketing, baggage screening and baggage claim areas.

Impact on travelers

Ryks said some of the phase-one construction will impact travelers and asked that airport patrons “be patient with us over the next eighteen months.”

Ford airport will be providing updates, maps, photos and tips on its website to help travelers throughout the construction process.

Signage, maps and airport ambassadors are also available in the terminal building to assist with any passenger needs or directions. 

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