Grand Rapids, MI – Construction on the first phase of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s (GFIA) Gateway Transformation project is slated to begin on December 14, 2015 and will continue for the next 18 months.
The first phase construction’s main features are the consolidated passenger security checkpoint which will centralize and combine security screening to one main checkpoint in the airport, eliminating separate screening for passengers traveling through either Concourse A or B, and a retail and concessions marketplace. Construction will also include new terrazzo flooring, lighting fixtures, restrooms & lactation stations, family restrooms, pre and post security business centers, new retail and food & beverage space, and much more. Concourse A will be undergoing construction during a phase of the project to match remodeling completed on Concourse B in January 2015.
“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 GFIA Executive Director Brian Ryks. “We are excited to begin construction, and we ask our patrons to be patient with us over the next eighteen months as some work will take place in areas where passengers navigate through the airport.”
The airport is working with the Gerald R. Ford Museum to incorporate an exhibit dedicated to the 38th President, which will be pre-security as a 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 flight 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.
Because some of the construction will have an impact on passenger operations throughout the terminal building, there will be updates, maps, photos, and other helpful tips listed on our website here. Signage, maps, and airport ambassadors are also available in the terminal building to assist with any passenger needs or directions.
The first phase project is expected to be completed by summer 2017. Grand Rapids-based The Christman Company is the construction manager. The project is expected to utilize over 140,000 hours of work, equating to about 90 full-time jobs. It is also expected to generate approximately $1.9 million to our local economy. The total cost of the first phase of the project, including design, is $32 million.
A second phase, which will include improvements to the airline ticketing, baggage screening, and baggage claim areas, will commence upon completion of first phase construction. Total cost of the entire project will be $45 million.