Airport to add skylight feature

The Charleston County Aviation Authority voted Thursday to add a clearstory, or clerestory, 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 by April.

A skylight will be erected over the first wing of gates at Charleston International Airport to match one being built over the other wing.

After a two-hour, closed-door meeting to discuss legal issues involving the feature as well as contractual matters related to the construction oversight firm and a pending lawsuit, the Charleston County Aviation Authority voted unanimously Thursday to spend a maximum of $1.6 million to build a clearstory over Concourse A.

The feature can also be called a clerestory, but airport officials, their architect and the contractor refer to it as a clearstory. Both terms mean the same thing.

The upper level of windows jutting above the roof to allow in more light was originally planned as part of the airport terminal’s $189 million makeover, but the feature was cut to save money, said Hernan Pena, who chairs the terminal redevelopment committee overseeing construction.

With extra money in its set-aside fund or from other sources, the board decided to add the skylight feature while construction crews are already on site, saying if the project is not done now, it’s doubtful it will be added later.

“We are just taking advantage of the mobilization costs,” Airports Director Paul Campbell said, referring to the construction equipment and personnel already on site.

“The funding is available,” he said. “It’s just a matter of where it will come from.”

The airport’s Finance Committee will make a recommendation to the full board on the source of funding, Campbell said.

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The airport construction project is scheduled to be completed Nov. 6, ahead of the busy Thanksgiving travel holiday, but the addition of the clearstory on Concourse A will not be completed until Jan. 28, 2016, according to the Austin-Hitt construction team.

Campbell said the added feature will not delay the current work.

Also, the airport board discussed in the closed-door session a lawsuit filed Tuesday by former airport spokeswoman Becky Beaman, who was fired in November for insubordination. It did not take any action.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or