Upgrading a small building at Reno Tahoe International Airport that had not handled the arrival of commercial travelers in 15 years proved to be a marathon venture for Clark/Sullivan Construction.
The general contracting firm was hired to bring the 40-year-old, 14,500-square-foot building located just north of the baggage claim area up to current standards to accept passengers for the airport’s new Volaris airlines flight from Guadalajara, Mexico. The project was completed early last week, Clark/Sullivan Operations Manager Jarret Rosenau said — but not without a massive investment in manpower.
Clark/Sullivan crews worked double shifts and weekends to complete the majority of the remodel so the building would meet U.S. Customs and Border Protection requirements. Work included demolition of all existing wall and floor treatments and installation of new materials and counter and passenger check-in areas.
Rosenau said crews worked 39 of 40 days, taking only Thanksgiving off. Clark/Sullivan tapped longstanding relationships with its suppliers and subcontractors to complete the work. An average of 50 tradesmen worked on the project at any given time, he adds.
Despite the greatly compressed timeframe, the biggest challenge, Rosenau said, was getting security clearance for construction crews when the project first began.
“Every worker had to be vetted through the FBI national security system, be fingerprinted, pass a background check and be approved from U.S Customs,” Rosenau said. “You have to go through these processes to even step in the building. It was very stressful at the beginning because we were processing tons of applications. It was a massive team effort between us, our subs and our suppliers and the City of Reno.”
The new Volaris flight — the first international flight from the airport in 15 years — is expected to bring $20 million in annual economic impact to the region, said Brian Kulpin, vice president of marketing and public affairs for Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Volaris added service to the region to tap into the Truckee Meadow’s large Hispanic customer base.
“They are well aware of the large Hispanic population in this community; twenty-five percent of people in this area are of Hispanic descent, and the vast majority has family in the Guadalajara region,” Kulpin said. “They knew they had a customer base in Reno.”
The Volaris flight will arrive at 1:50 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays and depart the same days at 3:30 p.m.
“This is a wonderful flight to bring people back and forth from their hometowns,” Kulpin said.