Airport terminal skylight could cost $1.6 million

Charleston International Airport is considering adding a clearstory to Concourse A to let in more light, matching the one being built on the extension of Concourse B, where five new gates will open in March or April.

Adding a skylight feature to one of Charleston International Airport’s terminal wings will cost an estimated maximum of $1.6 million and it would be finished by late January 2016.

The method of payment is up in the air for the feature called a clearstory, an upper level of windows jutting above the passenger gates on Concourse A.

The money could come from a contingency fund set aside for the terminal overall or it might be found from another source or a combination of contingency and other funds, said Paul Campbell, director of the airport.

An airport panel overseeing the $189 million makeover did not vote Friday on the addition because all of the information they need was not ready, but a consensus of the members of the Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program committee believe the skylight feature should be added.

“I think it’s an important move to make while we have construction going on,” said board member Margaret Seidler. “But we should look at a different source of funding than contingency.”

Panel chairman Hernan Pena said, “If it’s not done now, it’s not going to be done later.”

The cost estimates are on the high end, said Joi Oppold with the Austin-Hitt construction team building the terminal.

“The numbers could come down,” she said. “That’s a worst-case scenario.”

Campbell prefers that the money come from the $11.2 million set-aside fund for the construction project, but, he said, “We don’t know what other conditions we will run into between now and November.”

The current terminal project is on tract to be completed Nov. 6, according to Matt McCoy with Michael Baker Inc., the firm overseeing the massive makeover.

Taking the money from the contingency fund, would leave less than $1 million since the remainder has already been spent or is projected to be spent by the time the project is completed.

Seidler is hoping some of the money can be used to add canopies near the taxi stands in front of the terminal to keep passengers out of the rain.

If the clearstory is added to Concourse A, it will not delay construction on the rest of the terminal, airport spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells said.

A clearstory has already been added to Concourse B, which is scheduled to be completed in March or April, McCoy said.

The terminal overhaul includes five new gates on Concourse B, a third baggage carousel, which opens Feb. 3, consolidated security checkpoint with eight lanes, which should open in March or April along with new administrative offices.

The full airport board will consider the additional clearstory at its meeting Thursday.

A separate airport panel on Friday voted to switch out Wendy’s for Burger King as one of the new vendors when construction is completed. Wendy’s wanted to be the only hamburger chain in airport concessionaire Delaware North’s fold nationwide, but it was not doable for the Buffalo. N.Y.-based food service management company, Gunnells said.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or