Duluth International Airport

Duluth International Airport serves the northeastern portion of Minnesota. RS&H continues a long relationship serving the airport and region.

RS&H was part of a team that prepared an update to the Airport Master Plan. Since that update, RS&H has provided planning services in support of the general consulting role. Planning assignments have included airspace obstruction analyses including FAR Part 77 and TERPS, temporary impact assessments associated with airfield construction projects, and airfield design characteristic assessments supporting many facility improvement projects.

RS&H also conducted a security assessment of the terminal facility. This assessment focused on improving passenger convenience while meeting expanding federal requirements for baggage and passenger screening.

RS&H was again selected to prepare a new Airport Master Plan Exhibit A update and Airport Layout Plan (ALP) drawings using updated aerial mapping and obstruction surveying. The study included committee involvement, public outreach participation, and internet support of study findings.

The replacement terminal for Duluth International Airport creates a dynamic first impression to the port city of Duluth and the region. The terminal draws inspiration from local forms, materials, and landscaping that is native to the environment. For instance, the design of the landside lobby roof is a metaphor for the waves of Lake Superior. The deep reddish cladding on the architecture core is symbolic of the steel hulls on the freighters and ships that navigate the Great Lakes. Natural light bathes the terminal interior to enhance the human experience and as a passive sustainable design feature.
The building was designed to LEED Silver standards with sustainable green energy features, including geothermal heating, natural lighting, and a highly efficient water system.

Upon opening, the Duluth News Tribune described the new terminal as having a “wow” factor.

Program Management
The Duluth Airport Authority was seeking to replace a 30-year-old terminal building that was congested in the security screening and holdroom areas. There was no method to expand the old building, plus it was energy inefficient and dated in design. Further, the terminal was located too close to the runway based on current FAA design standards. Therefore, a new terminal was needed. However, the approximately $58 million total terminal project cost was beyond the limits of what a relatively small community could afford. RS&H assisted the airport authority in seeking additional federal funds for the project by three steps. First, fully justifying the need for the project. Second, identifying all potential parts of the project that could be federally funding. And, third, presenting the benefits of the project to FAA and elected officials. In the end, over $30 million in federal funds was obtained for the project, which opened in early 2013.

Project Details

Description Aviation
Master Planning
Program Management
Location Duluth, MN
Client Duluth Airport Association
Owner City of Duluth, Minnesota
Awards Top Project of 2013 and 2014, Finance & Commerce – Minnesota

Architizer A+ Award, Airport Architecture, Finalist, 2014

Choice Award Recipient, The Minnesota Construction Association (MCA), 2014

Best Airport Project of 2013, ENR Midwest


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