Denver, CO

City expected to spend another $1 billion on DIA Great Hall remodel

David Heitz
The Great Hall at Denver International Airport.Denver International Airport

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) The Great Hall project at Denver International Airport will take at least four more years and another $1 billion to complete.

Denver City Council members likely will approve changes to the contracts of construction companies working on the Great Hall project during Monday's meeting. The changes extend the contracts by four years to new end dates of Dec. 31, 2028.

Council authorization would give the airport approval to pump another $1 billion into the airport project. The project remains on time and on budget, city staff stressed.

So far, about $107 million has been spent out of $185.5 million budgeted. The new contracts move the airport into the next phase of construction.

The following contracts would be amended:

* Hensel Phelps Construction Co., $900 million added for a new total of $1.265 billion.

* Jacobs Engineering Group, $50 million added for a new total of $102 million.

* L.S. Gallego and Associates, $50 million added for a new total of $78 million.

* Stantech Architecture, $100 million added for a new total of $131 million.

The Great Hall remodel addresses security vulnerabilities. Much has changed since its construction more than 25 years ago.

"DEN is an aging facility that undergoes significant wear and tear and must be maintained," according to a city staff report. "DEN is crowded and operating over capacity."

Why so much money?

A staff report explains why the contracts were done in two parts. "The primary focus for the original contract(s) was for preliminary architectural planning, design guidelines development and implementation, and design quality governance.

"The scope of work for said contract varied on an as needed basis. The amended contract will provide architectural and engineering services needed for the re-allocation of the current design and construction administration of the Great Hall Completion project."

The work is in various stages of design and construction. "The amended contract will provide capacity to hold existing design engineers or EOR (Engineers of Record) contracts for the completion of the project as well as enable them to work in tandem with the general contractor to provide efficiencies, and constructability to the project."

How the money's being used

Primary contractor Hensel Phelps still has a lot of work to do. Work on levels 4, 5 and 6 is ongoing and includes, but is not limited to:

  • Expand the level 6 ticketing check-in area in the north end of the terminal on the east side and construct a new TSA security checkpoint with up to 17 lanes.
  • Add 34 new high-capacity security lanes.
  • Upgrade and modernize the escalators and add new elevators.
  • Add deck extension to the north end of the Level 6 connection bridge between east and west security to ease passenger flow.
  • Complete the modernization of ticketing spaces on level 6 for all remaining airlines at the south end of the terminal.
  • Refresh baggage claim and curbside areas on levels 4 through 6 on both the east and west sides of the terminal.
  • Create a new space for meeting and greeting passengers at both domestic and international arrivals on level 5
  • Build out level 4's hotel and transit center to house the Center of Excellence and Equity in Aviation. According to a city staff report, the center will "Engage, educate, empower, motivate and provide opportunities for under-represented students and young people who are interested and passionate about careers in aviation." The center also will provide aviation research, training for airport employees and more.
  • Upgrade HVAC, lighting, fire alarm systems, and modify the baggage system.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

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