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More than 1,000 people attended a party Saturday that included Cirque du Soleil performers dancing with hoops, walking on stilts and performing acrobatics from 40-foot-long ribbons hanging from the rafters to celebrate the grand opening of the new Terminal B of the Sacramento International Airport.
“We didn’t want to stand in the shadow of another city,” Hardy Acree, director of airports for Sacramento County Airport System, said Saturday. “We wanted to create our own identity here in Sacramento and with this, we certainly have.”
Image by: Phil Kampel Photography The party – hosted by the architect and construction firms responsible for the terminal project, Corgan Associates and Turner Construction – was a grand spectacle with live music, food and wine, and gave members of the public a chance to explore the new terminal without buying an airline ticket.
The celebration marked the long-awaited end of an 11-year, $1 billion-plus project, Acree said.
Image by: Kati Garner, Maverick Photography The new 669,000-square-foot Terminal B features a modern steel and glass architecture with spacious waiting areas for the 19 new gates. The high-tech terminal includes more than 20 self check-in ticketing kiosks along with four baggage claim rotundas.
The main difference between Terminal A and the new Terminal B is that arrivals and departures are on separate levels in the new terminal, making it more convenient for people to drop off and pick up travelers.
Image by: Kati Garner, Maverick Photography “This will now be the central terminal,” said Phil Mein, lead planning architect for Corgan Associates. “If we need to expand in the future, we’ll build additional concourses. We have plenty of room. The plan is for this to last at least 50 years.”
Along with more than 40,000 square feet of concession space, the new Terminal B boasts more than $8 million in public art projects – money well spent, some local art enthusiasts say.
Image by: Kati Garner, Maverick Photography “This is fabulous,” local attorney Steve Felderstein said of the terminal interior. “Between the Crocker Art Museum and this, we’re transported to a wonderful place.”
Mein also described some of the energy-efficient features of the terminal, including windows and skylights controlled with louvers to keep the heat out while letting in plenty of natural light.
Image by: Phil Kampel Photography Another interesting feature of the terminal is the redwood beams in the ceiling.
The wood is old-growth redwood that was harvested in northern California in 1919 and 1920, and used to build the Franklin-Thornton bridge in the southern part of Sacramento county, according to Acree.
When the bridge was deconstructed in 2003, the Sacramento Department of Transportation had plans to sell it, so the wood was kept in storage at Franklin Airfield – until Acree came along and decided that he could put it to good use in the Terminal B project.
“We took the wood and made part of our past into part of our future,” Acree said. “It’s salvaging a piece of material that you really can’t recreate, and putting it to a functional use and captured a part of our history.
Acree said the terminal project began with an original budget of $1.08 billion, and ended up $65 million under budget – and four months ahead of schedule.
“We did the right things and we did them the right way,” Acree said.
Acree added that now that the new terminal is moving into operational mode, it will mean another 225 jobs for the area.
Image by: Kati Garner, Maverick Photography Brent Kelley, design director for the Big Build Program from Corgan Associates, officially opened the terminal by sharing a toast with the crowd:
“Here’s to the newest, most modern and easiest to use airport facility in the country. May it forever change the history of Sacramento. May it bring prosperity to the community and be a source of pride for Sacramento. Cheers!”
Airlines with stations at the new Terminal B will include Aeromexico, American, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue and Southwest.
“It’s a beautiful terminal,” City Councilman Steve Cohn said, “but the true test will be how it works for customers. It may be pretty, but more importantly, it’s got to work.”
The new terminal building will receive its first travelers late Wednesday evening from incoming flights, and the first departures out of the new terminal will take off at 6 a.m. Thursday.
Melissa Corker is a Staff Reporter with The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCorker.