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New Lead Design Team, General Contractor Chosen For DIA's Great Hall Project

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver International Airport is closer to resuming construction on its Great Hall Project. It announced Thursday that it has selected Stantec as its new lead design team and Hensel Phelps as the general contractor, after terminating its partnership with Great Hall Partners.

Denver International Airport Great Hall Project (1)
A look at the Great Hall Project under construction at Denver International Airport (credit: CBS)

DIA says its contract with Great Hall Partners extends to Nov. 12, but the company is no longer actively working on the project; that is the date they must be fully out of the airport.

COO Chris McLaughlin spoke about the renovations Thursday at a Senate Commerce Subcommittee Hearing.

"Innovation in aviation security is critical for three main reasons first and foremost we must stay ahead of an adaptive and committed adversary. Second, we must keep up with ever increasing passenger volumes and third, airports must maintain the autonomy to flex to our unique customer needs and preferences. As threats to aviation have evolved, DEN has been proactive. Notably we have begun to overhaul our main terminal in a way that strengthens the public area without compromising the iconic, its iconic nature," said McLaughlin.

Unfortunately its "iconic nature" is lost on many passengers trying to navigate construction walls. A record 70 million are expected to pass through the maze this year alone.

"Every time I come, there's big white sheets over everything and exposed girders and cement blocks," said traveler AK Miller.

Miller flies in and out of DIA about once a month for work and fun. As a frequent flyer, the construction isn't hard for her to navigate, just an eyesore.

"It's frustrating, right? But having gone through vendor approval processes at work, you know that what you're sold isn't always what you get. So, as long as you learn from those mistakes, you're able to move on and make the right decision the next time. I think it's worth putting in a little work at the beginning to get a better result at the end," said Miller.

CBS4 interviewed Ryan and Erin Walls on Thursday as they were returning home from vacation in Washington.

"This last time, getting from Denver to Seattle, I feel like we had to work our way around a lot more ... a little bit more sweat trying to hustle around to get out of here," said Erin.

The Walls don't fly frequently, but Ryan is at the airport all the time.

"I do work on the ambulance out here so we sit outside Door 600 pretty frequently."

For Ryan, the construction makes something as simple as a dinner break challenging.

"There's no food. There's no restaurants. We can't walk from one end to the other. It creates a bit of a hassle," he said.

DIA's new selection still has to go through an approval process with City Council, which will take place Nov. 6.

Denver International Airport Great Hall Project (2)
A look at the Great Hall Project under construction at Denver International Airport (credit: CBS)

In a press release, DIA addressed the cost of the project stating:

DEN is committed to keeping the design and construction cost of the Great Hall Project at the original $770 million including contingency. The total cost for Phase I has not yet been determined but will be finalized by Q1 2020 once the team has had an opportunity to refine the design and scope. Additionally, the total termination payment amount has not been finalized, but is not a factor in resuming construction.

Construction is scheduled to resume in the first quarter of 2020.

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