Erik Nielsen Gets a Long Overdue Facelift

Manlig says he’s excited about the project and looks forward to seeing it through to completion. He’s worked on similar projects before and brings a wealth of experience and a dynamic skillset to the table.

The space on the main floor has been reduced slightly for the time being and there are a few construction barriers, but they don’t stop me from getting anywhere that I need to go. Aside from the occasional group of construction workers sitting across from me at Shanthi’s, the relative invisibility of the renovations, from a layman’s perspective, coupled with ample media coverage mean lots of public interest in the venture. Manlig says that Yukoners have proven curious about the project.

He says the refurbished airport will be user friendly and comfortable. And not to worry, “the ceilings are staying the same.” If he’s to be believed the public can expect a continued smooth transition over the next few months.

“One great thing about the renovations is that we’re taking advantage of previously unused space,” says Brittanee Stewart, communications and public relations analyst with the Yukon Government Highways and Public Works Corporate Services.

The main section under renovation right now is a walled-off area across from the gift shop on the main floor. The ground floor area behind the construction barrier and across from the gift shop will feature new washrooms with improved accessibility.

“The area above that will be a new and publicly accessible comfortable seating area located on the second floor mezzanine,” she says. Fortunately for everyone “the project will not impact or disrupt airport operations.” For those of us who have seen Steven Spielberg’s 2004 film The Terminal this comes as a relief.

The concept Manlig shows me for the mezzanine is open and modern looking. It allows for plenty of natural light and travelers can look out over the airport. He points out that the new transit seating area will feature plugins for laptops and USB ports.

Shorter line-ups at security can also be expected. “The passenger screening security area will be expanded to allow space for a second walk through metal detector,” says Stewart.

She makes it clear that plans for the gift shop are pending and subject to change. I’m shown a working concept for the new version and Manlig posits vaguely that the general idea is for a more open use of the space. Possibly with an island counter in the middle and more transparent walls.

The washrooms will also be getting an upgrade. While the improvements are happening the public will be able to use the new washrooms.

The new ones will be built with zigzag entrances that eliminate the need for doors, while maintaining privacy – making life easier for people with functional disabilities. The end result will be a more accessible, barrier-free experience.

The design was drawn up by architects at Kobayashi + Zedda in their signature style. This is the same company that designed the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre in Dawson City, the Tlingit Heritage Centre in Teslin, the John Tizya Visitor Reception Centre in Old Crow and the Nacho Nyak Dun School & Community Centre in Mayo among other projects around the territory.

The physical construction at the airport is being done by Wildstone Group of Companies. The project began in January of this year and is scheduled for completion in June.

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