Renovation Kicked off – Colorado Springs Airport Wears a Stunning Outfit

As a part of its master plan to renovate the City’s airport in a booming economy, the City of Colorado Springs has put out a concourse modernization project to bring a new appearance to the airport.
COS Airport Director, Colorado Springs Mayor and Nunn Construction leaders
Courtesy: EnvZone
By | 10 min read

Between the vast beauty of America’s Mountain and the storied culture of Colorado’s Wild West, there’s no shortage of adventure to be had in Colorado Springs. With its dizzyingly dramatic landscape, vibrant art culture, and breathtaking outdoor activities, Colorado Springs is a city that constantly dazzles and delights.

There really is something for every age, from children to adults! Whether you have a family full of nature lovers or thrill seekers, here’s the best activities and experiences in Colorado Springs.

To get to the place, people book a flight, get on the plane, get off, the first thing you see is Colorado Springs Airport. For sure, you don’t want to have a bad impression here, you won’t because the airport is doing good, streamlining customer experience.

But it doesn’t seem to satisfy the City of Colorado Springs. To prepare for the blooming future of the City, Colorado Spring has completed a 20-year master plan that is used to determine the development plans of the airport.

However, let’s take a look at the City for a moment!

Colorado Springs – The Symphony of Storied Culture and Vibrant Nature

Founded in 1871 as Fountain Colony by General William J. Palmer, builder of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, it was renamed for the nearby Manitou mineral springs. Growth of the area followed the Cripple Creek gold strikes in the 1890s and the promotion of tourism related to the health-resort trade.

Colorado’s second-most populous and largest city in the state by acreage, there’s a whole lot in Colorado Springs. The Olympic City is famous for everything from its iconic Pikes Peak to the giant mix of reddish-white sandstones and limestone that jut up from the ground.

Colorado Springs, CO is a vibrant city located in the state of Colorado. It is home to many businesses such as the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, T-Mobile USA, and Prudential Financial.

This city also offers affordable living with 2-bedroom rent costing around $1,590 compared to an average of $1,430 for the US. Additionally, the grocery cost index in Colorado Springs stands at 98 versus 100 in the US.

COS Airport staff
Courtesy: COS Airport

The COS market area offers many competitive advantages for area businesses including excellent transportation systems, communication networks, utility infrastructure, and an attractive lifestyle. Impressive growth in the market area is being experienced within a variety of business sectors.

One important reason that companies are choosing to locate and/or grow offices in the region is that the City of Colorado Springs has consistently ranked at or near the top of the list for most desirable places to live in the U.S. by various media outlets.

Another factor in the region’s attractiveness for business growth is the proactive and aggressive approaches taken by the region’s various economic development advocates and agencies, as well as the business-friendly policies advocated by its local governments.

The City like Colorado Springs already holds two key things that drive innovation and economic growth in cities: high-tech industries and highly educated knowledge, professional and creative talent.

However, there is one aspect that hasn’t been talked about enough is airport. Airports have a lot of untapped economic potential due to their proximity and connectivity to other metropolitan city areas.

When multipliers are added in, the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport injects $3.7 billion into the annual economy of Colorado Springs, according to an economic impact study released by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics.

The demand for air transportation at COS is largely driven by a combination of the trends currently being realized within the airline industry and the socioeconomic conditions within the market area.

Realizing the power that aviation possesses, it’s a must for the City to put out a plan to renovate the City Airport from bottom up.

The Community-Driven Long-Term Capital Improvement Plan

The principal goal of the Airport Master Plan is to provide a carefully considered, systematic approach to the Airport’s overall maintenance, development, and operation over a 20-year planning period. At its core, this planning effort was designed to identify and plan for current and future airport facility needs well in advance of the actual demand for those facilities.

The Plan is also designed to review and assess the Airport’s current conformance with federal and state airport design and operational standards to ensure that the Airport continues to operate as safely as possible. The Plan will also ensure that COS can appropriately coordinate project approvals, design, financing, and construction, while avoiding noncompliance issues.

The primary goal of an Airport Master Plan is to provide guidance for future airport development.

Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Aeronautics Division require airports to maintain a current Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan (ALP) to remain eligible for federal and state grant funds. Typically, Master Plans are updated every 7-10 years.

COS’ last Master Plan was completed in 2013. Master Plans establish guidelines and timelines for development, so projects are completed in-line with demand forecasts.

As a part of the Master Plan, the City has put out a Concourse Modernization Project, which consists of concourse modernization and roadway replacement/rehabilitation.

Reimagining the City’s Airport: A Fresh and Exciting Outlook

The total budget for the construction of all three project packages is estimated to be $20M to $46M. The Airport desires to begin construction in 2022 with an anticipated total project completion date of 2025.

All project packages and associated payments will be completed in accordance with milestones. Each above-described project is a discrete project with independent milestones.

COS Airport hall
Courtesy: COS Airport

After the completion of the Concourse Modernization Project at Colorado Springs Airport, the airport will boast significant improvements and upgrades across various areas. The concourse building will be fully modernized, featuring new restrooms, renovated interior walls, replaced windows, upgraded flooring, and enhanced ADA compliance throughout.

The two main terminal building elevators will be replaced, and the HVAC systems will be upgraded. The project will also lead to an increase in ceiling height, replacement of the PA system and speakers, boiler replacement, and overall modernization of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

Additionally, the installation of an oversize baggage handling system will enhance the efficiency of baggage handling operations, while the enclosure of the tug/cart passageway and reconfiguration of the inbound baggage belt system will contribute to smoother processes.

The Milton E. Proby Parkway and Rental Car Area will undergo substantial rehabilitation, resulting in improved road conditions, including resurfacing, crack sealing, pothole repair, and selective concrete panel and spall repair.

The expected future of the airport is vibrant if the City and the contract winner can collaborate effectively together. And to choose a perfect contractor is not an easy thing, it demands a process and criteria that help to filter out the real diamond.

Comprehensive Criteria to Avoid Picking up the Chocolate Teapot

While we may all try our hand at a DIY project from time to time, there are certain projects that are just too complex for a novice to handle successfully. When it comes to the time to find a professional for a building job, we all want to find a good contractor to get the job done to the highest standard, and at a price that won’t break the bank. With so many contractors available, it’s hard to know who to choose.

Choosing the right contractor is a critical decision that can greatly impact the success and safety of any project. Whether it’s a construction project, a renovation, or any other undertaking, selecting a contractor who meets your requirements and prioritizes health and safety is paramount. With numerous factors to consider, it’s essential to clearly understand what to look for when evaluating potential contractors.

There are several key factors to consider when choosing a contractor. From assessing their health and safety policies to evaluating the competence of their personnel, we will delve into the aspects that ensure a contractor’s reliability, capability, and commitment to maintaining a safe working environment.

However, as the City demands more from the vendors, the criteria need to be a bit more comprehensive. All proposals were evaluated according to the following criteria:

SOQ Evaluation CriteriaMax. Points
Firm’s Experience on CM/GC & Similar Projects20
Key Personnel Experience15
Record of Cost, Schedule, & Safety Performance15
Design/Pre-Construction & Construction Services Plans20
Fee Proposal Approach10
TSA Secure/Sterile Area Operating Experience20
Total Points100

The evaluation process has been completed, and the city has awarded the contract to the compatible one. After careful consideration and review of all proposals, Nunn Construction emerged as the selected contractor for the project.

Embrace Sustainability – Nunn Construction Grabs the Seat with the Green Promise

In 2023, Nunn Construction celebrates 40 years in the game, from 2 employees to 150, 1 office to 3. In fact, the company has been serving and being in charge of many constructions at Colorado Springs.

With years of experience, Nunn Construction’s expertise is broad, spanning industries, methods and technologies. From an innovative K-12 school that shapes today’s student, to a healthcare facility that exceeds stringent requirements, they make sure that visions and plans become buildings that last.

Nunn Construction kicked off a new project
Courtesy: Nunn Construction

Colorado Springs is a green city. And to keep it nature sustainable, the City is committed to adopting practices that incentivize clean energy, investment in existing infrastructure, and new projects that are environmentally responsible to enhance the health and longevity of the City, its residents, and visitors.

This leads to a point where Nunn Construction literally aligns with the city quest for green. For them, building green is the responsible way to build and they have the people on board to make it happen.

There is one thing we need to accept that aviation is invaluable for our planet’s socioeconomic development, and airports are in a unique position to support sustainable development. They help connect the world globally, yet they are very much a part of a city, or a whole region. They contribute to the enrichment of people’s lives both locally and worldwide.

However, they must also be mindful of our planet and the need to reduce our collective footprint. Airports have the dual obligations of maximizing the socioeconomic positives while minimizing the environmental negatives.

They, just like the rest of our human endeavors, must grow and recover sustainably, and look at every facet of their operations, to ensure they are creating added value from a social, environmental, and economic standpoint.

With that in mind, Nunn Construction wants to bring healthy, durable, energy-saving strategies for buildings. They focus on proper sitting, exterior envelope efficiency, high-performance mechanical and electrical systems, and indoor air quality – while working to reduce waste during construction.

Aside from sustainability, the completion of the project, together with the Master Plan will bring the City a set of benefit that varies. But to come to that conclusion, let’s look at the airport competitive advantages.

Colorado Springs Airport Defined Itself in a Blooming Economy

The Colorado Springs Airport (COS) primarily serves the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes El Paso and Teller Counties. This region is the main source of aviation-related demand for COS, especially for commercial airline passengers.

Proximity to the airport is a key factor for passengers when choosing where to travel from. Throughout the planning period, COS is expected to remain the only commercial service airport in the MSA.

COS also attracts passengers from counties surrounding the MSA, forming the secondary market area. These passengers may consider other factors in addition to proximity, such as flight options, availability, cost, and convenience.

For example, Denver International Airport, located 86 miles away, is a major commercial air service airport that often draws passengers from the northern counties of the secondary market area and beyond. Pueblo Memorial Airport, south of COS, may attract passengers from the southern counties of the secondary market area.

It’s important to keep in mind that the specific market area served by COS can change based on factors like the level of service and airfares offered, as well as competition from other airports in the region.

COS Airport ticketing gate
Courtesy: COS Airport

In addition to COS, there are several general aviation airports in and around the primary and secondary market areas that cater to the region’s general aviation demand. While these airports affect the general aviation market, it’s assumed that the existing usage patterns in the region will remain relatively consistent.

As regional economic development continues to grow, COS may see increased usage by corporate/business aircraft operators. And it’s true, the airport is entering a growth tear.

Flourish Time – Experience Highest Traffic in 22 Years

Colorado Springs Airport saw more than a million passengers board planes in 2022, the highest amount of traffic in 22 years, the airport’s annual report showed.

The tally of 1,071,826 enplanements, or travelers boarding planes out of the Colorado Springs Airport, was almost 15% higher than the year prior when Southwest had joined Colorado Springs Airport in March 2021, the report showed.

“This was a big year for Colorado’s small airport,” said Greg Phillips, the airport’s director of aviation. “With the highest level of enplanements in over two decades, we are bullish on even more growth ahead for 2023 and beyond.”

The blockbuster year came even as Southwest’s operations experienced a string of snafus in December, initially caused by adverse weather and exacerbated by other factors, including Southwest’s point-to-point logistics model that enables the company to offer competitive fares, airport officials said.

For the month, 7% of flights at the airport were canceled instead of the usual 2%. Southwest’s 115 canceled flights accounted for over 80% of cancellations at the airport during the month, said Joe Nevill, the airport’s air service development manager.

Enplanements were down in December by 8.5% compared with December 2021. Frontier’s absence from Colorado Springs Airport since early November contributed to the lower enplanement numbers for December.

Enplanements in December, however, were up 12% from December 2019, a benchmark year prior to the onset of the pandemic.

For 2022, enplanements were up 27% over 2019.

“Thanks to our airline and industry partners, our Pikes Peak Region customers and community colleagues and our entire Colorado Springs Airport (COS) team for an outstanding year!” Nevill wrote in a LinkedIn post.

Colorado Springs also experienced increased offerings when it came to the number of seats available throughout 2022, up 4.4% from the year prior. Not only were more seats available but passengers filled them. Load factor, or the measurement of the fullness of flights, increased 6.9% compared to 2021.

Colorado Springs saw more than 2.1 million people walk through its terminal last year, and officials are optimistic 2023 will be another busy year for the airport.

Even the concourse modernization project and the Master Plan are in the pilot stage, the airport is still able to generate huge profits.

Looking at the larger picture, recently, we have been experiencing the renovations of many major airports. This comes as Congress, after years of underfunding airport infrastructure projects, recently allocated billions of dollars for upgrades and modernization initiatives.

The Rain of Dollars Over Aviation Old Instruments

Colorado Springs Airport deploys a new project
Courtesy: Colorado Springs Airport

America’s airports are some of the country’s most powerful economic engines. They contribute more than $14 trillion in economic activity annually and support approximately 11.5 million jobs. However, a sobering statistic is troubling. America no longer has a single airport listed in the top 25 best airports in the world.

That, however, may change. Airport officials throughout the U.S. have announced major upgrades. There are plans for all types of new airport construction and expansions and some are already in progress.

Congress, after years of underfunding airport infrastructure projects, recently allocated billions of dollars for upgrades and modernization initiatives. State legislators approved millions more for airport projects, and numerous local governmental entities passed bonds to address critical airport needs. Now that funding is available, an abundance of upcoming opportunities will soon be announced.

As the cash is abundant, it benefits Colorado Springs too.

Recently, in March 2023, Colorado Springs Airport earned a $6 million grant to revamp its terminal concourse.

The airport intends to use the Federal Aviation Administration dollars to remodel hold rooms (passenger areas near gates), restrooms, ceilings, windows, elevators, flooring, the PA system and more, an airport news release said.

The project will increase terminal capacity, improve terminal sustainability, and enhance accessibility for individuals with disabilities, replacing outdated infrastructure, the release said.

Aside from Colorado Springs Airport, there are many other ones that are in renovation and modernization process. This adds to the reason why airport construction projects will be abundant in cash for the next several years, and contracting opportunities are immediately available in almost every state in the country.

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