Airport board votes to ban smoking

Terminal main entry is done; more work still ahead

Juneau International Airport’s board of directors approved a policy to ban smoking outside of designated areas on the front curb of the airport terminal Wednesday.


Airport Manager Jeannie Johnson said that with two new smoking shelters installed on either end of the terminal, people have a place to smoke at the airport that is not out in the open air. With those shelters in place, she said, airport staff recommend that the rest of the public area in front of the terminal be designated a non-smoking area.

“As long as they’re not 10 feet on either side of a door, it’s legal for them to stand on the sidewalk and smoke,” Johnson said of smokers outside the airport. “I wouldn’t say that it’s the biggest complaint that I get, but it’s darn close, (from) people walking in from the employee parking lot or just walking the gauntlet down there, and they walk through smoke all the time.”

Board member David Epstein made a motion to approve the airport ordinance, which must go to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly for final approval before it takes effect. But he asked to clarify that smokers would be appraised of where they can and cannot smoke, if and when the ordinance takes effect.

“Just kind of future-tripping a little bit, I would presume if this ends up codified, that … there would be signage and everything that would direct people where to go to smoke, and that we’re not foisting this on the smoking public without some guidance,” Epstein said.

Johnson replied, “There will be signage directing people to the designated smoking areas.”

Johnson also said staff will work to make it clear that people cannot smoke in the bus shelter at the airport, either.

The board heard an update from Airport Architect Catherine Fritz on terminal renovations. Construction work recently concluded on the main entry to the airport.

Reflecting on the renovations to date, Fritz singled out the airport’s installation of ground-source electric heat pumps as a particularly significant step forward. Another heat pump installed as part of the entry renovation brings their number at the airport to 31.

“We have done some pretty remarkable work on this building,” said Fritz. “We were the first airport and first public building in the state of Alaska to utilize geothermal heat pumps, and we’ve been a leader in that area.”

Fritz added, “There’s a lot of people moving forward with this technology because of the willingness of the board and the management here to make those first steps to try something that was pretty leading-edge at the time.”

The renovations have added about 12,000 square feet of new space to the airport terminal to date.

“We demonstrated that good design can give you more than lots of design, and I think that it’s a very efficient, flexible for the long term space, the 12,000 square feet that we’ve added,” Fritz told the board.

Nearly seven million dollars in funding to continue the renovation of the airport terminal were approved by Juneau voters in October as part of Ballot Proposition 1, which authorized a $25 million general obligation bond issue.

Fritz, who is retiring after almost 30 years working for the CBJ, was honored at the meeting with a special presentation by Mayor Merrill Sanford. He presented her with a “certificate of appreciation” for her service.

“She’s more than just an architect and a designer. She’s a gal that pays attention to the nuts and bolts of our buildings, also,” Sanford said, as he and Assemblymember Johan Dybdahl, the new Assembly liaison to the board, stood on either side of Fritz.

Fritz thanked the board, airport management and Assembly after receiving her certificate.

“It really has been a pleasure working as a public servant of the city and borough for nearly 30 years,” said Fritz. “I’ve learned a lot, and that I will take with me my whole life. And I think there’s a lot of good people who really want to give to this community. And so thank you for supporting all the work that I’ve been able to do, too.”

Johnson, Fritz and the board also discussed the Snow Removal Equipment Facility project and its funding schedule, with Johnson saying she hopes to line up full funding by next fall so that the SREF building can be put out to bid and constructed in one phase.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said it will provide $10 million in discretionary funding for fiscal year 2014 on Oct. 1, 2013, according to Johnson. She said she is also hoping for $3 million in state funding for the project.

The SREF project is scheduled to receive $3.1 million over the next two fiscal years, FY14 and FY15, from a 1 percent sales tax extension backed by municipal voters in October.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at


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