Construction is moving along at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The project began back in December, with a complete remodel for baggage claim. Now, crews are in phase two, moving the security checkpoint downstairs and restaurants and shops upstairs.
Not only is the work on schedule, but it's also under budget - and very noticeable. What used to be the food court is now a demolition zone.
"Literally, where we're standing, right now, would have been about the point where you would be getting your Quarter Pounder, from McDonald's," Reno-Tahoe International Airport Publicist Brian Kulpin said.
Soon, you will get that burger upstairs - with the security checkpoint moving down one floor. Duane Boreham is the project manager and says it's not an easy task, especially since part of the airport was built back in the 1950s and the rest was added on in the 1980s.
"They're different types of construction," Boreham said. "As you can see, most of the 50s construction was done with concrete tilt-up panels and then the 80s construction was done with steel beams and Q-deck."
Renovating this building also means rerouting existing utilities.
"The biggest challenge is the mechanical plumbing portion of it, which is some 12-inch water lines that have to be completely routed around the demolition area," Boreham said.
The $27-million project is funded by a variety of sources, including some federal grants, creating 275 construction jobs.
"This is very important," Boreham said. "We're fortunate to have a entity like the Reno-Tahoe Airport that can hire Q&D and put us all back to work."
Today, that portion of the airport is nothing but steel and concrete. Once it's finished, it will have a completely different look and feel.
"We're going to raise the ceiling to 18 feet with a big bank of windows," Kulpin said. "It's going to be an atrium-type effect."
Behind those windows will be the Reno-Tahoe-themed 'Timber Ridge Restaurant,' along with shops and other places to eat.
"This is our great way to say 'Welcome' to our community and 'Goodbye' from our community," Kulpin said. "We make that all important first and last impression when this project is done. We'll do that with state of the art security, great new restaurants and stores."
Kulpin says the overall experience will be better for travelers, once the project is finished because there will be more dwell time for people to enjoy these new options. It should all be finished in April of next year.