Tampa Improvements

Level 2 waiting areas will be made more efficient, with enhanced seating, television viewing areas and displays that promote Tampa Bay as a vacation destination. (All images: Tampa)

Caroline Cook reviews how the Floridian hub is upgrading its infrastructure.

Level 2 waiting areas will be made more efficient, with enhanced seating, television viewing areas and displays that promote Tampa Bay as a vacation destination. (All images: Tampa)

Having recorded more than 16.7 million passengers in 2011, development at Tampa International Airport has been welcomed with open arms.  Serving the Tampa Bay region of Florida, the airport has an average of 212 air traffic movements a day, and this number continues to increase.
Most recently, the final touches were made to Tampa’s Ticketing and Baggage Claim Curbside Modernization project.  These upgrades, announced in February last year, were completed by the end of April 2012 and cost $11.6 million.
Designed by Alfonso Architects, the refurbishment included updating all exterior signage for the ticketing and baggage claim level kerbside at the airport’s main terminal.  Upgrades were also made to the lighting, walls, ceilings, check-in desks and benches, as well as the rehabilitation of roadway and walkway surfaces.
Complementing the recently upgraded interiors of the landside terminal, the project was primarily instigated “to make a great first impression,” according to the airport’s CEO, Joe Lopano.  “Customer service is an essential element in the travel experience and it’s something that we take into account in all of our projects,” he said.
Construction was carried out by Walbridge Aldinger Company and included several of the airport’s ‘green initiatives’.  The new energy-saving lighting solution is said to be brighter, less expensive to operate and maintain, and will last longer than the previous system.
Sixteen landside toilets are being renovated and will incorporate automated technology.

The project formed part of the airport’s larger main terminal modernisation, for which primary construction started in early March.  This $20 million development comprises the interior refurbishment of the transfer, ticketing and baggage claim levels, including floors, walls and escalators to create a ‘Florida-feel’ theme.
“The main terminal facility has been refurbished in the past,” commented Mr Lopana, “but this project is so much more.  This redesign is an upgrade to both form and function that will preserve the ambiance of the main terminal while significantly enhancing the customer experience.”
Lighting is being upgraded on the transfer and ticketing levels, and 16 landside toilets are being renovated and will incorporate automated technology.  Signage is also being replaced throughout the entire terminal, as well as the carpet on the ticketing level.
Furthermore, executive offices are scheduled for reconfiguration, and additional traveller’s aid kiosks will be added to the baggage claim level.
Tourist and customer outreach centres will also be created, and the chapel will be relocated.
The airport hopes to make more efficient use of the waiting area on Level 3, including enhanced comfort zone seating, television viewing areas and displays that promote Tampa Bay as a vacation destination.  Business travellers will also enjoy quieter zones with power sockets and work surfaces, as well as the airport’s existing free WiFi access.
Airside F renovations are planned to accommodate projected increases in international passenger traffic.

The changes were designed by Gresham, Smith and Partners, and Hardin is undertaking the construction.  A new United Service Organizations (USO) centre, some additional signage, four tourist information centres and half of the refurbished toilet facilities are expected to be completed before the end of August, when Tampa is due to host the Republican National Convention.  The entire project should be finished by mid-2013.
Construction on the airport’s Airside F renovations, plans for which were announced in January, is also scheduled for completion in August next year.
This $27.6 million upgrade, designed by Alfonso Architects, intends to accommodate projected increases in international passengers.  There has already been significant growth  in this market, with international passenger traffic increasing by 24% in February 2012, compared to the same month last year.  Beck won the construction contract, and the first phase is expected to be completed by November.