Airport moves forward with second entry remodel, will solicit bids

The Juneau International Airport board on Wednesday unanimously approved giving its made-in-1984 entry a $1.2 million facelift.


The board heard a presentation last month on the proposal for how to use the remaining $4 million from the current renovation project, but wanted more information.

Airport architect Catherine Fritz and manager Jeannie Johnson had pitched the idea of a supplemental agreement for the work with the current contractor. That would add the new scope of construction to work the contractor was already awarded. The idea came from past city history with adding to projects, however board members resisted the idea and wanted to put it to bid.

Johnson and board chairman Jerry Godkin met with City Manager Rod Swope, Assemblyman (and airport liaison) Merrill Sanford and City Engineer Rorie Watt and found that staff would not have supported a supplemental agreement in this case because it didn’t meet all of the criteria used in the past.

Godkin told the board he wouldn’t want to proceed with that option if staff wasn’t supportive.

“Interesting fact is, it will be good for the contractors in general in Juneau to have an opportunity to look at this million-dollar project,” he said. “It puts it out as a fair thing for everybody.”

Johnson said the discussion included economic climate and she agreed it would be beneficial to put it out for bid. She said the city also showed recent historical city bids coming in lower than projected. Godkin was hopeful that the project could still come in lower than anticipated.

Fritz explained the issues with the main entry by level.

Fritz said there are several areas within the 1984 section of the building the airport plans to replace besides the exterior, like the escalator and elevator. However, the only portion they’re working on now is the exterior.

That includes windows, siding, lighting and doors.

Fritz said the exterior soffit is damaged, the fascia is damaged and unsightly — it’s laden with cracks which have held moisture to the point that the structural stud system and can’t carry the load anymore, and the entry vestibule ceiling has water damage from frozen sprinkler line.

On the upper level, issues abound with the deck. Fritz acknowledged it’s got a great view and is nice to sit on, but the issues are an overlying concern. The lighting is not energy efficient and can’t be controlled. Some of the roof has a “garden” of moss, but the deck is not a purposeful “green” roof. While the deck was build to code, it no longer meets code with its railings. Fritz said there also is an issue with smoking, as there is an odor issue with the fumes lingering below in the entry. She said however people feel about smoking in public places, the residue of smoking lingers in the public entry. The doorways to the deck have a steep step, which causes a tripping hazard and there are signs asking people to not feed the birds. Fritz said birds at the airport already are a concern. The final issue is that the exterior insulation is failing.

What is planned is installation of a steel wall system similar to the new construction, matching the facade.

This includes a new glass canopy, improving the building envelope, automatic doors, protecting sprinkler lines from freezing, replacing the vestibule unit heater and replacing exterior lights with more efficient LEDs.

This portion of the project is expected to cost $1.2 million.

The new doors will allow the airport to designate one entry as “arrivals” and one as “departures” and divide the passenger flow.

Johnson briefly addressed the issue with the Glacier Restaurant, saying she’s spoken with the manager and contacted the owners. She said they don’t want to cause a huge disruption to the restaurant, but some disruption is unavoidable. Last month the restaurant manager raised an objection to the plans because the facelift on the 1984 section of the building currently features a deck which the restaurant uses. Johnson pointed out at the last meeting that the deck isn’t part of the restaurant’s lease agreement.

There also will be disruption with the gift shop and coffee shop on the lower levels. Construction work will cause the coffee shop to gain square footage, but the gift shop will lose.

Board member Laurie Berg suggested it was time to configure a plan to expand gift shop space, especially since it will put merchandise in the hallway.

Johnson agreed, but added the gift shop owners are not interested in an option that moves them to the second floor as they get customers both from Alaska Airlines, but also the smaller plane entries.

Johnson said the lease is up at the end of the season for the gift shop, but given construction they may have the option to extend the lease another year. She said the owners are interested in staying. Berg suggested since the lease is up, it might be time to send out Requests for Proposals for the gift shop.

Fritz said one thing coming up is a space utilization study to review all of the airport’s facility space and how the airport is changing. She said there has been discussion of bringing Q400 planes to town, which would change the departure lounge and how the airport would service such a plane, which is a twin-engined, medium range, turboprop airliner.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback