Location: Monroe Regional Airport, Monroe, Louisiana
Michael Baker provided inventory, programming, program management, project design, and construction administration for improvements for a new commercial terminal area and related facilities.
Monroe, Louisiana was the birthplace of Delta Airlines in the 1920s. Their old terminal was built in 1958. Over the years, problems increased in maintaining obsolete building systems, accommodating airline and security changes, and responding to future facilities demand. Enplanement levels are forecast to reach 150,000 passengers in 2015 and 170,000 by 2022. Due to the existing terminal deficiencies, the airport and community desired to have the facility in place prior to the forecasted need.
A new commercial terminal, loop road expansion, public and rental car parking, and rental car service areas were all needed as part of the building program. Due to site constraints, the improvements were constructed in four major phases over a period of roughly three years, allowing for continued operations of existing facilities. The site constraints also led to a somewhat modular approach that allowed construction to proceed easily from phase to phase. It also allowed maximum flexibility in the configuration to optimize how the building fit the site.
The design concept was simple and allowed intuitive wayfinding to guide visitors through the building. As the "Sportsmen's Paradise," there is a regional emphasis on outdoor activities. Accordingly, Michael Baker's design included two central garden areas with water features that all of the buildings wrap around. These are viewable from all of the transition areas as well as from the main terminal and passenger concourse. As such, patrons are part of the outdoor experience upon entering the building. On the interior, Michael Baker designed a true modern lodge feeling utilizing slatted wood ceilings and stone for the base columns. Natural cypress, which is common for this area, was used extensively in the main building to add to the rich feel. The floors are a combination of sizes of rectified, ceramic tile, which provides a smooth, durable surface as a mosaic pattern that simulates a river running through the building to further tie the outside to the inside. Each building also has a large clerestory area to allow daylight throughout. The net effect is one that truly embodies the character of northern Louisiana.