It’s Wheels up in Kansas City
Kansas City is getting kind of used to being in the spotlight — and for good reasons. After clinching the 2023 Super Bowl, hosting the 2023 NFL Draft and preparing to host the World Cup in 2026, Kansas City can top it off by beaming about their new $1.5 billion international terminal.
For 50 years, anyone flying out of Kansas City knew that they could be dropped off curbside and within a few minutes be through security and at their gate. The old airport was considered to be one of the most convenient ones to navigate. Just as life in general has changed in half a century, so must air travel. The old KC airport had few security measures. The three terminal design required magnetometers, x-ray machines and security workers at each gate which was difficult to maintain and very expensive. The terminals lacked natural light and if you unfortunately had a layover in Kansas City, the airport
offered few options for food, drink and entertainment. That has all changed.
The new single terminal design features 40 gates and the ability to expand up to 50 gates in the future. It is more of a destination, especially for art lovers. The City of Kansas City, Missouri’s “One Percent for Art” program stipulates that one percent of public construction costs be set aside for public art enhancements. The new terminal features sculptures, paintings and installations from 28 different artists, most who live in Kansas City. Amenities include central customer service helpdesks, inclusive play areas, a simulated aircraft play area, service animal relief area, airfield views, nursing mothers rooms, military USO, sensory room, and dedicated commercial curb space for taxis rideshares, city transit and shuttles.
One of the most unique features at the terminal are the glass passenger boarding bridges at all 40 gates allowing you to view the surrounding airfield as you board your flight. This feature makes the terminal the largest all-glass facility in the United States.
If you are hungry or thirsty while at the terminal, you will be pleased to find locally inspired restaurants including Parisi Coffee, Bloom Baking Company, Boulevard Brewing Company and Meat Mitch. You will also find travel essentials at Brookside Local and City Market Retail.
American Direct Operations Manager Kellie Volz says American Direct provided 1,008 hollow metal frames and 1,175 metal doors in addition to a significant amount of electronic hardware. StormPro assemblies were installed where either extra security was warranted or the area was deemed as a severe weather shelter.
American Direct provided the install in a unique way by “pre-installing” the hardware to the doors in their Lenexa, KS warehouse. Anything that attached to the door (closers, kickplates, exit devices, etc.) was installed on the door before the doors were delivered. “By pre-installing, you can determine if there
is anything that needs to be adjusted or changed. We knew before we ever shipped the door if there was a problem,” says Volz. “Another advantage to pre-install is that when the doors/hardware were being hung at the construction site, we didn’t need technical expertise to be present since it only required a few screws.” Anything attached to the door frame would be installed by the field installer.
Clark | Weitz | Clarkson, A Joint Venture was the contractor. Project Engineer Nate Snyder says, “The pre-install process was a good first line of defense regarding quality issues. Anything we could get ahead of was great for all of us.” Snyder is appreciative of Volz’s wealth of knowledge about door hardware. “Learning from her was a huge advantage for me. Getting our low voltage security design to match the architectural design of the terminal was a challenge, but Kellie graciously sat in on meetings about the security system and door hardware to make sure we knew which hardware needed to be on each door,” says Snyder. Volz had many field directive changes to contend with. She says it may have been just adding a window in a door or adding a lock instead of a passage set, but staying on top of all of the changes and being
mindful of the supply chain issues meant consistent communication with the contractor’s team.
This project was well underway when COVID struck. Material lead times more than doubled and getting access to electronic parts and chips became extremely difficult. Snyder says he had the battle of performing work in a safe manner and still meeting deadlines and schedules. Clark | Weitz | Clarkson A Joint Venture had minority and women owned business participation goals they committed to including a 20% minority workforce and a 2.75% women workforce. Those goals were surpassed.
The contractor’s Terminal Workforce Enhancement Program (TWEP) included a Workforce Training Program (WTP) designed to provide access to careers in the construction industry for Kansas City area residents with little to no construction experience. The WTP curriculum focuses on construction math skills, jobsite safety, First Aid and CPR training, financial literacy, diversity/inclusion training, and trade-specific involvement. Participants who successfully completed the three weeks of classroom training were hired by
a subcontractor on the KCI New Terminal Project and were entered into a union pre-apprenticeship program.
The 1.1 million sq. ft. terminal is indeed a world class venture, taking note as the single largest infrastructure project in Kansas City’s history. The project generated more than 6,000 construction-related jobs with more than 240 Kansas City-area firms also contributing on the project. This project set multiple records, including becoming the second LEED Gold and the largest LEED Gold terminal in the U.S. American Direct’s involvement in projects like the KC terminal continue to show the world how one company can provide cutting edge totally integrated safety and security solutions at the door.