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Best Projects Transportation: South Bend Regional Airport Concourse A Expansion

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An addition to a concourse at Indiana's South Bend Regional Airport takes flight with a steel-framed, barrel-vaulted structure intended to mimic the forms of an aircraft wing.

Photo Courtesy of Abstract Photography Inc.
This addition to South Bend Regional Airport Concourse A is heated and cooled with geothermal technology.
Photo Courtesy of Abstract Photography Inc.
A raised arch with a curved translucent roof bathes the concourse in natural light.
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On one side, a raised arch with a curved translucent roof bathes the concourse in natural light, while a glazed, full-height curtain wall on the other enhances daylighting and provides views of adjacent runways and taxiways.

Designers introduced perforations to girder and beam webs to make those elements visually lighter as they arch over the concourse.

Construction of the 600-ft-long facility occurred on the secure side of the existing terminal and was undertaken in three phases in order to minimize disruptions to ongoing operations.

In accordance with the plan, each completed phase was fully operational before crews began work on the next, an approach requiring that systems be designed for phased installation.

Each day, workers and deliveries were checked by airport security and escorted to the site, with work areas sealed from passengers by temporary wall structures. Because passengers already were screened, extra efforts were made to keep them from accessing construction equipment during phase transitions.

The 45,000-sq-ft facility incorporates geothermal heating and cooling, with a five-acre lawn providing the space required for 16 miles of piping, portions of which extend beneath an operating runway. Crews performed directional boring to install piping between the geothermal field and a new mechanical room.

Inside, seven bubbler fountains humidify the facility, eliminating the need for high-maintenance, in-line humidifiers in the ductwork.

In addition to a deli, lounge and grab-and-go food options, the completed concourse houses a gift shop, business center and children's playroom.

The playroom, which includes aviation themed play equipment, allows children to run off a bit of energy before boarding an aircraft, making the experience of travel more enjoyable for all.

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