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Construction milestones met in airport's 'green' facelift

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Fewer than two months ago, the final beam of structural steel was placed in the Terminal 2 expansion at Lindbergh Field, a milestone in the airport's Green Build project.

Executives from the joint venture charged with completing the terminal work, including Turner Construction,PCL Construction and Flatiron Construction Corp., ceremoniously joined San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and members of the San Diego Regional Airport Authority June 8 to mark the topping out. Bruce Boland, an airport authority board member and the terminal development program committee chair, referred to the project as the most significant undertaking the airport has seen in his many years in town.

Well work has continued since, and though it may not be easily seen from roadways, progress remains significant, said Dan McGuckin, Turner's project director.

"We're moving forward on all the typical fronts in construction," McGuckin said.

That means fireproofing steel, laying underground utilities, placing of the rough-end utilities inside and pouring concrete – lots of concrete.

Construction work at San Diego International Airport will include new gates, curbside check-in and a dual-level roadway, all built sustainably. Staff photo by Sarah Strong.

From pouring concrete decks to starting the architectural columns on the land side of the expanding terminal, concrete is beginning to give the structure form. On the air side, work has resumed on the surface paving, which consists of concrete 17 inches deep.

Still in the final stages is some of the final design work. It's almost done, said McGuckin, but there are a few hang-ups, including ornamental trade materials like iron, and decorative terrazzo.

"Some of the interior components of the building still are left to be bought," he said.

It may still be some time until the changes can be obvious from the freeway, but by the latter part of the year, that looks to change. The final three months of 2011 should bring the first installment of exterior paneling, McGuckin said, giving an empty shell of steel beams some identity as a building.

"The project is running smoothly and we're multitasking right now with a lot of different trades and processes."

According to Bryan Enarson, airport authority vice president of development, the Green Build improvements are expected to generate $10 million in direct and indirect economic benefit for San Diego. Add to that the jobs that fill the new spaces during and after construction, along with the cost savings expected from the building's sustainable design, and it amounts to an all-out win for the region, he said in June.

"When you've got these jobs coming up and you've got the new concession program and you've got a growing airport, that's more jobs."

Shawn Rosenberger, Turner's vice president and general manager, said the Green Build is helping create around 1,000 construction jobs, many of which are going to local or small businesses.

"The numbers are very impressive," Rosenberger said, in reference to the 90 percent share San Diego businesses hold in the distribution of work. About $120 million worth of work on the current part of the project is being completed by locals, he said. A few of those companies include Portillo Concrete, Fordyce Construction, JJ Hawes Inc., Whitmore Steel, Prava Construction Services and Tel Tech Plus Inc.

But officials have said many times that economic growth is only half of the "green" equation behind Green Build. The project was designed to earn a LEED Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition to adding 10 new gates at the terminal, curbside check-in, a dual-level roadway, 12 security lanes and an expanded concession area, the project adds sustainability to the mix.

The dual-level roadway, separating arriving and departing vehicles, will be open-air, reducing energy consumption. Similar reductions will be made inside the terminal, which will have windows as its primary source for light during the day. McGucken said the first of the window installations may come before the end of the year, along with some stucco work and some roofing.

"You'll see most of the major construction take place in 2012 on both the inside and outside of the building," McGucken said. "2013 will be basically finishing up."

Also adding to the LEED point total will be reflective rooftops, drought-resistant landscaping and low-flow water fixtures.

When finished, the 460,000-square-foot terminal expansion is expected to help the airport handle a projected doubling of passengers by 2030. Green Build is due for completion by early 2013.

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