Experience at airport lands $40 million contract for Q&D

Q&D Construction's work in 2009 on the new passenger check-in and airline terminal area at Reno-Tahoe International Airport directly led to the contract announced last week for the airport's newest project, says Tim Kretzschmar, vice president of building for the longtime northern Nevada builder.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport executives last week said the airport will begin a $40 million makeover of its baggage claim area and construction of a state-of-the art security checkpoint. The 17-month job is expected to be completed in April of 2013, says airport President and Chief Executive Officer Krys Bart.

Two years ago, Q&D Construction successfully wrapped up work on a $65 million upgrade and makeover of the passenger check-in area and airline terminal counters. Kretzschmar says that many of the lessons learned on that job, and the company's successful track record with the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, helped it win the Construction Manager At Risk contract for the baggage claim and security work.

"It was a qualifications-based selection, and I think that a lot of that qualification selection was our experience here, knowing how to work in an around an airport," Kretzschmar says. "It is a big deal when you have passengers, airlines, baggage all those things have to coordinate together, and it was our experience here that won us the job."

The airport will use federal funds to pay for the security checkpoint portion of the job, and the airport authority will use its own money to finance the makeover of the baggage terminals and remodel of the upstairs restaurant area.

Airport restaurant vendors and the gaming operator, IGT, will fund an additional $7 million for the project, says airport spokesman Brian Kulpin.

A new cafe will be constructed on the ground level, and the entire food court will be gutted to make way for the new security checkpoint.

McDonalds and a new signature restaurant will be moved upstairs to a newly renovated area that will include additional retail offerings.

Sections of the roof of the second floor also will be raised to 18 feet to include atrium viewing and natural lighting.

The work requires meticulous planning, says Norm Dianda, Q&D president, as well as strict adherence to construction schedules. Kretzschmar says the general contractor's primary goal is to ensure that passengers never see more of the construction than the temporary walls separating work zones from public areas.

"There is a ton of coordination for the phasing of the baggage claim. We basically broke that down into four sections," Kretzschmar says. "The most difficult part is going to be when we have to shut down the food court."

Q&D initially will run two shifts for the baggage claim work to reduce the duration of impact to travelers.

Construction work at the airport requires that each worker has security clearance and pass a background check. Dianda says the majority of the employees from the terminal work two years ago will be placed on the new job.

The baggage claim/security checkpoint job is expected to employ as many as 275 workers, Bart says. Approximately 30 to 35 tradesmen will be employed by Q&D, Dianda says, and workers for electrical, mechanical, drywall and painting subcontractors will make up the bulk of the workforce.

The work comes at a critical time for Q&D Construction, which can keep two shifts of crews busy through the winter.

"Right now jobs are important to our community, especially in the construction industry," Dianda says. "A project like this is a great stimulus for our community. The fact is, we are able to work on this through the winter months. Some of the people who will be employed here through the winter would be laid off."


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