Design skills, expertise lead to impactful project at Sioux Falls Regional Airport

Structural engineer Austin DeJong appreciates knowing that a building is standing because of the work he does.

But working on the parking ramp currently under construction at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport offered DeJong benefits beyond the usual job satisfaction.

DeJong has been with architecture, engineering and planning firm TSP since 2019. “Committed to Our Craft” is one of the firm’s long-held core values.

DeJong was able to live out that value by expanding his skills and expertise through the in-depth inspection process at the parking ramp.

His involvement included pre-pour inspections, writing up punch lists, working with contractors on required corrections and being on-site for concrete pours, many of which began in the pre-dawn hours.

“That was the learning experience for sure,” he said. “Just getting on-site and learning more, that’s always fun for me.”

DeJong looks forward to applying lessons he has learned to future projects.

“Some of my current projects include details I might not have thought of before I gained that on-site experience,” he said.

“It’s important to bridge the gap between the information on a piece of paper and what is actually built, and I think the airport project definitely helped me with that on the concrete side.”

The new airport parking ramp will add nearly 1,000 covered spaces that will be divided equally among the four levels. The first level will feature the only short-term parking option, and levels two through four will be designated for long-term airport parking.

A skywalk will connect the second level of the parking ramp to the terminal building, allowing passengers to cross over Jaycee Lane. 

Crews from Henry Carlson Construction place the airport skywalk April 4. 

For the project, TSP provided architecture, interior design, mechanical and electrical engineering, and a portion of the structural engineering services. KLJ is responsible for project management and civil engineering, and Kimley-Horn is the parking and structural consultant. Henry Carlson Construction is the general contractor.

“It has been a good experience,” said Dan Letellier, Sioux Falls Regional Airport executive director.

“The entire team is aware of issues that might surface, and they’re addressed well in advance so the project can stay on schedule.”

The project is scheduled to be completed around Oct. 1.

TSP principal and architect Michelle Klobassa has worked on a variety of projects at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, including the major lobby renovation and security checkpoint addition, the baggage claim expansion, restaurant renovations and the recent concourse updates.

The parking ramp was a much different project because it is an entirely separate structure and significantly impacts the front door to the airport.

“However, the driving force behind all of these projects has been very similar: Create a design that helps provide a great experience for travelers,” Klobassa said.

The design team considered the best layout for people to easily access parking and quickly get between levels with a “quick ramp” concept.

“The location of the structure makes it convenient to the main entry of the terminal and will allow for future expansion of the garage as parking needs continue to grow,” Klobassa said.

The skywalk, another critical design element, will offer a direct link for passengers to reach their destination safely and comfortably.

“Imagine coming back from a week of vacation and not worrying about how you’re going to walk through two or three snowdrifts to get to your car or having to clean your car off,” Letellier said.

“You know that it’s going to be in the same condition as when you left. It is going to be nice and dry, and you can get right out to your car.”

The design incorporated additional “wow factor” elements with unique canopies, photographic murals, large digital display boards and lighting elements that carry on similar themes found inside the terminal.

Returning to TSP’s value of “Committed to Our Craft,” other team members are quick to describe personal development that resulted from their involvement in the project.

Justin Halse, BIM coordinator, enjoyed flexing his creative skills by generating renderings with QR codes that direct viewers to a panoramic video gallery.         

To view a virtual tour of the airport project on mobile, hold your phone in landscape mode. To view without scanning the QR code, click here.

Electrical designer Kerry Kloiber, who recently marked his 35-year anniversary at TSP, appreciated learning more through collaboration to determine the best approach for the electric vehicle charging stations that will be in the ramp.

He added that the two 24-by-60-foot video boards that will be displayed on the ramp are another unique feature.

“It looks a lot nicer than a standard parking ramp,” he said. “It is not your typical parking ramp.”