Tulsa International Airport on Thursday unveiled a $7.5 million renovation to its main entrance, Schwab Hall.
The upgrade to the area adjacent to the security checkpoint and rental car counters took 11 months to complete and was designed by TODD Architecture Group and built by Manhattan Construction Co.
The project relocated walls, art installations and utility infrastructure to provide an open line of sight from the curbside entrance of Schwab Hall to the airfield.
“It is really striking to walk in here and see the natural light coming in, see the skylights that are here that match the skylights in the terminal,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “It is just a beautiful setting.”
A centerpiece of the renovation is a 170-foot linear skylight extending from the Schwab Hall entrance to the security checkpoint, a feature that replicates the design in the concourses.
“This is the gateway for people when they come to Tulsa,” the mayor said. “What we’re focused on is making Tulsa a globally competitive city, being a city that attracts the best employees and employees in the whole world. The way they get to this city is through this airport.
“… How they are greeted, what they see, their first impression of Tulsa is going to be this space. I’m so grateful that we had the leadership that saw the value of beautifying this space …”
Other parts of the upgrade include a 15-foot diameter compass rose providing navigational insight to travelers, modern restrooms near the security checkpoint, new LED lighting and a new roof and an upgraded heating and ventilation system that increases operational efficiency for the airport’s 500,000-square-foot facility
Since 2012, the airport has undergone more than $190 million in airfield and terminal improvements, including a $30 million parking garage expansion that added 500 parking spaces in 2017, an airport spokesman said.
Starting in January, the airline ticket counters will be replaced and new counters will be set back about 30 feet to provide more queue space for the traveling public. The project, which will include upgrading the HVAC system, is estimated to cost about $5.9 million.
Schwab Hall is named after PFC Albert E. Schwab, a United States Marine posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Battle of Okinawa.
“When we re-did the hall, I know the family was concerned,” airport CEO Alexis Higgins said. “They were saying if we are going to change this, what would that mean for PFC Schwab and his legacy. I just thought that was an important piece for us to commemorate.”