Work on a multi-million dollar renovation project at the Grand Junction Regional Airport is nearly complete after less than a year of construction.

The airport budgeted roughly $5.7 million for the first major overhaul of the terminal since the current airport building opened in 1982. Airport Director Angela Padalecki said the project is slated to come in approximately $200,000 under budget.

"We hope customers notice that the terminal feels refreshed," Padalecki said.

The project included replacing the HVAC system in the main atrium, shifting from a swamp cooler system to a forced air system, which has kept the terminal cooler this year compared to past summers.

Parts of the roof were replaced as was a boiler and both of the airport's escalators. The escalators were the only two in western Colorado until recently when the Eagle County Regional Airport added escalators during a renovation.

Other aspects of the Grand Junction terminal project included enclosing the third floor, renovating the first- and second-floor restrooms, painting and adding artwork and adding windows to the post security area near Gate 1. Staff offices also moved up to the third floor.

A new jet bridge added late last year is also part of the renovation project, but not included in the $5.7 million budget. The bridge cost roughly $1.8 million, according to airport Planning and Development Director Eric Trinklein.

The airport is still waiting on lighting to be installed, which should happen this week. The restrooms past security will also be renovated.

The project tackled bringing the airport building up to code compliance, addressing deferred maintenance and enhancing passenger experience, Padalecki said.

Some of those projects, such as lighting, checked multiple boxes. Padalecki said the previous emergency lighting no longer fit new code, but the airport decided to go above the minimum standards to improve the ambiance at the airport.

"We took a customer experience perspective when looking at code compliance and deferred maintenance," she said.

FCI Constructors performed the construction work and Mead and Hunt served as the architect.

Much of the work took place in the evenings, but some of the project, including the escalator replacement, was done throughout several days.

Aside from the obvious work zones, Padalecki said she hoped customers and tenants were not overly inconvenienced.

"The team did a nice job balancing work with minimizing impact to the passenger experience and to tenants," she said.

The airport will now look to replace the tile flooring in the terminal early next year. Padalecki said design work is ongoing and hopes the project can finish up before the busy travel season.

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