Ready for Takeoff?
Fort Myers Facility Among the Numerous
Airport Projects Under Construction in the Southeast
Airport construction activity is prevalent throughout the
four-state region covered by Southeast Construction. Here,
the magazine looks at some current or recently announced
contracts, starting with a detailed update of the $438 million
Southwest Florida International Airport project, now heading
into its final phases in Fort Myers, Fla.
Despite the well-noted troubles of some carriers - such as
Atlanta-based Delta Airlines - aviation projects are keeping
a large number of contractors busy in the four-state region.
Major programs - from the massive multibillion dollar efforts
in Miami and Atlanta to numerous new terminals and parking
garages - are under way or soon beginning at airport facilities.
Projects in the region also include rental-car facilities
and baggage-screening systems.
All of this high-flying construction is a result of a slow-but-steady
resurgence in air travel since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
As McGraw-Hill Construction's Engineering
News-Record reported in May, the U.S. Department of
Transportation expects that by the end of 2004, 15 of the
nation's 35 major airports - including seven of the top 10
- will be busier than they were prior to Sept. 11.
Here, Southeast Construction
looks at some of the aviation-related projects under way in
the region, starting with a report on the $438 million Southwest
Florida International Airport in Fort Myers.
SWFIA: Minor Delays
Outside of Miami or Atlanta, one of the bigger airport construction
efforts in the Southeast can be found in Fort Myers, where
DMJM Aviation is serving as program manager for the $438 million
Southwest Florida International Airport. The overall project
includes a new 800,000-sq.-ft. terminal with three concourses
and parking garage, a new taxiway and related roadways.
Additionally, the new terminal will include 28 aircraft gates,
with design accommodating future expansion to 65 gates.
Since work first started in December 2002, the multi-contract
project has progressed to slightly more than 75 percent completion.
Dick Corp. of Pittsburgh is the general contractor for the
Midfield Terminal, which has been the focus of activity for
the past year. The firm's contract is currently valued at
about $135 million, said Shelby Gardner, project manager,
as opposed to its original $108 million cost. A TSA-mandated
30- by 900-ft. extension to the airside portion of the building
to accommodate baggage-screening equipment has the contractor
eyeing July as an expected completion date, instead of the
original spring timetable.
"The July date is not accepted by the owner and is the
subject of continuing discussions," Gardner said in late
September. "With cessation of change work by the owner
and a reconciliation of the time request or compensation for
acceleration, I am fully confident that Dick Corp. will finish
the project on schedule."
Joe Glowacki, construction manager for program manager DMJM,
has said that the original deadline could still be attained,
though he admitted to impacts from materials shortages and
"We've run into some delivery delays for certain materials,
statewide, because the whole state's been impacted with materials
and other type issues," he said. "But right now
there's no major delays for the entire project. We're still
on track for that spring opening."
He was positive about Dick Corp.'s efforts.
"They've taken an aggressive approach to the schedule,"
he said. "They've been working with us to deal through
the issues to get the project moving and done."
Gardner agreed that the project team was mostly able to dodge
a major impact from the materials shortage in Florida.
"Fortunately there were no problems with cement or steel
during the initial phase of the project when we were building
the structural portion," he said. "We always eventually
got the concrete, just not in the quantity required and on
the day required."
Though the project dodged three more bullets - named Charley,
Frances and Ivan - when those Category 4 (or better) hurricanes
headed for other areas, the threat of each storm shut down
the job for a total of about 10 days.
Current work in the terminal is focused on completing mechanical
and electrical systems to allow for start-up of the HVAC system.
Roof systems are complete in the terminal and two of the three
concourses, and curtain-wall construction was nearing completion.
Interior finishes include ceiling system panels followed
by installation of 12-in. terrazzo tiles, followed by the
installation of baggage claim devices. Interior ceilings,
including metal ceiling grids in the ticketing lobby and suspended
ceilings in baggage claim, have already been placed. Most
of the interior stucco walls in the public areas have already
The terminal's exterior will be a mix of exterior stucco
and painting, precast panels and some metal panels.
A main focus of late has been the installation of the baggage-handling
system, a job being handled by G & T Conveyor Co. of Tavares,
"That subcontractor is doing very well," Glowacki
said, reporting the company was about 75 percent complete
in September. G & T's work incorporates all of the baggage
belts, X-ray machines and recirculation belts. The contractor
is scheduled to energize and test the system by the end of
Glowacki added that contractors building out tenant finishes
for the airlines, rental-car companies and concessions owners
will start performing their work by the end of the year as
"We're very satisfied with how the overall project has
progressed," he said. "We've had some of these unforeseen
instances that we've had to deal with, but what we planned
roughly three years ago, when we were finishing up design
and how this project would progress, has been following the
sequence that we planned."
Owner: Lee County Port
Authority, Fort Myers
Manager: DMJM Aviation, Fort Myers
Architect, Terminal: Spillis
Candela/DMJM, Coral Gables, Fla.
General Contractor, Terminal:
Dick Corp., Pittsburgh
New $350 Million Terminal
New Training Facility in Orlando
C: Curtainwall System
at Charleston International