Architect: Engberg Anderson Architects
Owner: Milwaukee County, Department of Administrative Services
Facility Management Division – Architecture and Engineering
Contractor: C.D. Smith Construction Services
Passengers collecting their baggage are discovering a more welcoming experience and comfortable environment upon arrival in Milwaukee. The 45,000 sf passenger service main floor of the Baggage Claim building was remodeled to include a two-story, sky lit, art inspired gathering space, well-appointed and approachable baggage service offices, illuminated wayfinding and code compliant restrooms. Five new conveyor/carousels operate effectively and efficiently reducing wait time. An expansive glass canopy extends the full length of the building protecting pedestrians and vehicles from inclement weather. Non-public new additions include a ten-office suite located on the second floor, mechanical penthouses and an electrical switchgear room that supports baggage claim operations and limits service loads on the main terminal. The project scope emphasizes Milwaukee County’s commitment to public service through facility design and operation.
The new facility successfully met the Owner’s primary intention to improve passenger service and satisfaction. Redesign of the structural system allowed the interior spaces to have higher ceilings, to integrate skylights across the length of the entire building, to add second floor office space and to support an extensive green roof system. Higher ceilings coupled with new MKE blue illuminated signage enable passengers, greeters and staff to connect, locate services, and circulate to designated meeting areas and exterior transport sites. The abundant natural light from the skylights and full height curtainwall reduces the use of artificial lighting during daylight hours. Electrical load reductions are metered by the buildings new system controls and monitored by airport engineering. This information is also featured via an educational display monitor located near the baggage carousels. Interior finishes were selected for their extreme durability and low maintenance. The elegant and subdued palette comprised of wood veneer interior wall and ceiling panels, aluminum storefront, translucent glass panels and terrazzo flooring, provide a pleasant backdrop in the highly active zone.
Built in the 1950s, the Baggage Claim building was the original airport terminal. Over subsequent years, the building was remodeled through several additions and the airport campus expanded to include the terminal, concourses, corporate hangars and air force wing. Eventually, this original structure became the Baggage Claim building that serves the medium size airport. In use for over 60 years, the building envelope, interior, MEP, and general construction had deteriorated. The facility did not meet current ADA and building codes, was very dimly lit, poorly signed, environmentally uncomfortable and the baggage handling equipment frequently failed. GMIA with the AE team, elected to remodel the existing facility into a showcase for energy efficiency, effective operations, managed controls and comfortable interiors. LEED Certification became the basis for all relevant decisions concerned with materials, comfort, operation, maintenance and constructability. Major elements included all new building system controls which monitor system operations and meter energy consumption for electrical power, lighting, HVAC as well as water consumption.
MKE’s commitment to Green Airport Practice included applying for and receiving a Milwaukee Focus on Energy Grant for daylight and energy use modeling, applying for and receiving a MMSD grant for the 5,000 sf green roof visible to all airport users via two skywalks with supportive education display kiosks, and participating in a Pilot Program with Milwaukee WasteCap to monitor construction waste and recycling. In addition, GMIA recently received Honorable Mention at the Airports Going Green 2015 Conference sponsored by the Chicago Department of Aviation and the American Association of Airport Executives.
Photos: C&N Photography, Inc.