$1.1 Billion Revamp Largest Civil Project In City's
When you think about premier commercial airports in the United
States, LAX may come to mind... or, perhaps, Dallas-Fort Worth
International. You might even think of JFK, Dulles, or O'Hare.
Chances are, Indianapolis International Airport (IND) wouldn't make
your list... but the airport is taking a dedicated, and pricey,
step towards changing that.
The Indianapolis Airport Authority is nearly done with a $1.1
billion redevelopment project, aimed at bringing IND into the big
time. It's the largest civil project ever in the history of the
midwestern city... and is but one step in a larger campaign to make
the Indiana state capital a force to be reckoned with on the global
"We wanted to create a memorable new image for the city while at
the same time take some of the stress out of flying," John J. Kish,
the executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, told
The New York Times.
At the center of the massive remodeling effort at IND
("reimaging" may be a more appropriate term) is a new main
terminal, designed by architect Ripley A. Rasmus of the HOK Group.
The 1.2 million square-foot structure is composed of steel and
glass, with a swooping roofline intended to invoke images of
In an effort to make the airport feel more accessible, even in
an age of heightened security, the terminal sports a massive center
hall open to both passengers and visitors alike. A five-story
window wall offers views of downtown Indianapolis; additional
retail space offers more room for high-end shops, and fine dining
"It's a building on the scale of the great train terminals of
the 19th century," Rasmus said. "It's a Union Station-scale
space... It's the place where you have your first and last
impression of the city. It also has the seating capacity of a
basketball arena, if the airport is having a really bad day."
is meant to be functional, too. Initially, the new building
will open with 40 gates, six more than the current structure... but
it will be able to support as many as 100 gates. Security
checkpoints are located in two large halls, one per concourse, that
also offer separate entrances for airport employees.
"In the past, everybody went through the same checkpoint," Kish
said. "If you were a vendor delivering supplies, you used the same
hallways as the passengers. Now we have segregated passageways for
As is befitting a modern airport, the new IND terminal is also
intended to be "green." Daytime light is diffused by overhead
skylights, reducing excess heat... which in turn decreases the
amount of energy needed to run air-conditioning during hot Indiana
summers. The terminal's floor-mounted radiant heat-and-air
conditioning system is designed to be used only in areas that
people occupy, further lowering electric bills.
"Green" efforts also extend to the ramp areas, which sport
water-recycling systems designed to remove deicing chemicals from
runoff. "This is a fairly deep green project," Rasmus said. "It
will be notably more energy-efficient, comfortable and well
integrated in terms of systems than most airports."
Kish hopes the massive refurbishment will bring IND
passenger-traffic numbers up to the levels the airport enjoys on
the freight side. The airport is home to a major FedEx hub... but
only ranks 45th in terms of passengers traveling through its
"The terminal has an economic function," Kish said. "Hopefully,
it will encourage more direct flights and more international
flights from Indianapolis."
The new airport is slated to open October 28 of this year.