The 21st Century Terminal

As the Indianapolis Airport Authority designs and constructs it new Midfield Terminal, sustainability and environmental awareness are driving forces.


INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- With a reputation for breakneck speeds, airport officials in this racing city are thoughtfully and deliberately engaged in planning and constructing a new facility expected to pull ahead of other airports. The New Midfield Terminal at Indianapolis International Airport, for which ground will be broken in late July, will be among the first airport structures to apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Beyond the certification, the airport expects the sustainable practices and environmental considerations it is implementing today will benefit the airport for years to come.

Indianapolis International Airport is operated by BAA Indianapolis, under a management agreement. In addition to the airlines which serve the airport, roughly half of all operations are attributed to Federal Express, which opened its second largest hub here in 1988.

John Kish, midfield project director for the New Indianapolis Airport, says the airport needs to build the infrastructure and a terminal that is equipped to handle the needs of the next 30 years. In addition to meeting demand, "the building needs to be sustainable and respect the land from which it springs."

Long-range planning is a major factor, says Kish, in the airport's ability to move forward with this project. "In 1929 the airport was put at this site. We're benefitting from that vision today. And, 75 year's later, we're ready to execute the next step of that long-range plan."

That next step is building a new terminal building between two parallel runways on the 7,700-acre airfield.The relocation of the terminal and runways was part of the airport's 1975 master plan. More than the position of the runways and the terminal, the project involves reconfiguring roadways, with the help of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).

When the new midfield terminal is completed in late 2008, officials will submit years' worth of documentation and files demonstrating their commitment to guidelines established by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. According to the USGBC, LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for building high-performance, sustainable buildings.

"Indianapolis will have a facility it can be proud of architectually and environmentally, a facility that can handle traffic, and if a carrier decides to intensify growth, can meet that demand," says Kish.

He is quick to add that while the airport is advantaged by the amount of land it has to grow, "current management has to be sensitive that engineers don't use all the available land. We've really compressed development right now, and I think that's the right thing to do. A bigger footprint would have been wrong." Kish says the current airport layout will allow for the airport authority to assess needs in coming years and "carefully, consistently, and reasonably" plan future growth. "It's the mission of the authority to think ahead and manage our assets."

New -- From the Ground Up

In 2002, INDOT began construction on a project to relocate a portion of I-70 at a cost of $170 million. The project moved the Interstate some 500 feet south to more closely parallel the IND southern runway and add two interchanges to the roadway.

The following year, a new air traffic control tower was constructed by FAA and is expected to be operational in 2006.

At an estimated cost of $1 billion, the airport authority negotiated the agreement to build the new terminal in 2000 with the airlines at Indianapolis; it was signed in early 2001. And, while the events of 9/11 did not change the financial aspects of the agreement for the airlines, the project was delayed by about 18 months, says Kish. "We worked hard to model the financial structure to minimize the impact on the airlines." The project is funded by $120 million in AIP funds, passenger facility charge-supported bonds, and the balance covered by airlines' rates and charges.

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