Just in time for the holiday travel season, contractors at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport have finished their work on Concourse A.
The projects - part of a $70 million overhaul of Terminal 1 - include new ceilings, flooring and carpet, and completely new bathrooms.
Also included? Two new pieces of public art, which airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says are the first new pieces since the mural of black aviation was completed nearly 20 years ago.
"When this terminal was designed in 1956, [architect] Minoru Yamasaki always had a vision of bringing it as a cultural institution and having art into the airport," says Hamm-Niebruegge. The front of the terminal once included a reflecting pool and two statues.
"Over the years as that got filled in and became a roadway, the art piece was sort of forgotten. What we planned to do was try to bring out that original vision and grandeur of this as a cultural institution, not just an airport of people traveling through."
Grants and private donations are funding the artwork, says Hamm-Niebruegge. She hopes to install pieces throughout the airport as renovations are finished.
Mayor Francis Slay says the renovations give travelers a much better first impression of St. Louis. He says he's heard nothing but positive comments about the work so far.
"From the people who work out here especially, one of them said, 'when you close your eyes and open them, you wouldn't know you were in the same place,'" Slay said. "That's how much of a difference it is."
The $70 million effort includes new baggage claim and ticketing areas, and a new security checkpoint for Concourses C and D. Hamm-Niebruegge says the project is on time and on budget.