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Transportation & Aviation

St. Johns County Airport Authority’s Aviation Terminal, St. Augustine, Fla.

Photo courtesy of Old City Helicopters
Photo courtesy of Old City Helicopters

In about 100 days, a new aviation terminal was built to replace a demolished one on the same site. It is owned by St. Johns County Airport Authority and located at Northeast Florida Regional Airport. The existing 11,770-square-foot terminal had a tension fabric structure. The slab and interior infrastructure area were preserved for the new building. Passero Associates LLC designed the building with a curved metal roof and exterior canopies. It houses a 13,466-square-foot terminal area and 9,839 square feet of canopy space.

Passero Associates designed the roof to be reminiscent of buildings constructed during World War II. It also matches existing roofs on a control tower and aircraft rescue and firefighting facility. The ceiling in the interior is exposed acoustic metal deck; the roof and open ceiling are one system, which reduced construction time.

The terminal’s floor plan is almost square. The building was constructed with exposed curved beams at the ceiling, large spans and four interior columns. The columns frame a security screening area. Passero Associates designed the interior to be open, free flowing and with clear wayfinding. It features a large waiting area with views of airfield activity.

The exterior canopies ease traffic flow. They were constructed with extruded aluminum for several reasons. All-metal construction doesn’t require a fire suppression system, it can withstand the airport’s intercoastal location (within a mile of the Atlantic Ocean), and for aesthetics, as aluminum provides a reflective surface that changes colors. The terminal does not have a baggage belt system; instead the exterior canopies provide access for a tug and space for baggage make-up and baggage claim.

For the roof, Thorne Metal Systems Inc. installed 14,000 square feet of Merchant and Evans Inc.’s 24-gauge Galvalume, 16-inch-wide, curved Zip-Rib roof panels with a 1-mil Kynar coating. Thorne Metal Systems roll formed the panels on-site.

Harris County Ironworks LLC installed Fabco Metal Products LLC’s steel beams, tube steel columns and 14,000 square feet of 18-gauge acoustical metal roof decking painted White. The steel wide flange beams and tube steel columns are also painted White.

For exterior canopies, Peachtree Protective Covers Inc. supplied and installed 10,000 square feet of its extruded aluminum canopies with an anodized finish and Clear A31 coating. Various gauges of aluminum were used, 13-gauge to 7-gauge.

Another project requirement was to provide the fire suppression system that doesn’t use a fire pump, which was cost prohibitive. The interior of the building is protected by a sprinkler system, but the exterior canopies met building code requirements for a non-combustible structure, so a fire pump was not required. If the canopies were not made of non-combustible materials, the hydraulic calculations would have increased so a fire pump would have been needed. The $4.1 million project was completed in April 2016.