DIA Great Hall Phase Two

From left: Former Denver International Airport's CEO Kim Day, TSA's Larry Nau, Federal Security Director, Colorado and Cristal Torres-DeHerrera, chief of staff, pull out a life-sized rendering of the new security checkpoints that will be built in the Great Hall improvements, phase two. 

The north end of Denver International Airport’s terminal is about to become unrecognizable when Hensel Phelps begins building new security checkpoints as part of the Great Hall phase two improvements.

Plans call for three escalators to move people from the new sixth-floor security station directly to the train platform. Improvement should be functioning by the beginning of 2024, said outgoing airport CEO Kim Day, who is retiring July 16 after 13 years at the helm.

Day joined City of Denver officials, TSA representatives and Hensel Phelps Wednesday to announce the start of construction.

Phase one included expanding the number of gates by 39, adding four additional restrooms and improving the check-in stations for Southwest, United Airlines and Frontier Airlines. The new check-in points are now on level six, above the existing TSA security checkpoints.

Hensel Phelps took over for the previous general contractor, which was fired two years ago after delays and cost overruns.

The new security area is to include “state of the art” screening technology, new line processes and streamlined procedures, Day said.

“It’s continuing to prep DEN for the future and allow it to continue to grow,” she said, using the airport's three-letter code.

Phase one created 460 jobs, and phase two is expected to create 300 jobs,  said Alan Salazar, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s chief of staff.

“DEN is the economic engine that powers Denver’s economy with an estimated $33 billion per year in impact,” Salazar said.

It’s also the third busiest airport in the United States.

Many speakers used the opportunity to thank Day for her 13 years of service.

“You cannot do great things without some mistakes,” Salazar said. “You can’t build great things without a couple of missteps. I think a lot of criticism was unfairly directed at Kim. She did this while managing challenges many of us couldn’t even imagine. She’s a heroine.”

To handle the increased staffing levels for the summer, and for this weekend’s Major League Baseball All Star Game, TSA added nine extra K-9 patrols – putting two on a checkpoint to expedite the line, Nau said. The agency also brought in an additional 30 TSA workers from other areas – who will stay on through the summer.

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