The V.I. Port Authority Board voted 4-1 to move forward with the redesign of the ticketing counters and podiums at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas at its monthly meeting Wednesday.
The meeting, held both in person and via Zoom, discussed and voted on task order No. 24, authorizing the Port Authority’s Cyril E. King Airport aviation consultant Kimley-Horn and Associates to provide design and construction phase services for the St. Thomas ticketing counters and gate podiums.
According to the task order, the current ticketing counters and gate podiums are in a state of disrepair and have impacted airline operations. The counters and podiums are an eyesore to the traveling public and have arrived at the end of their useful lifecycle.
The order said that on Jan. 25 the Port Authority applied to use Passenger Facility Charge revenue to the Federal Aviation Administration, identifying the ticket counter and gate podium replacement as an eligible project. The project will provide a complete replacement of 37 exterior ticket counters and 13 gate podiums at the commonhold room inside the terminal.
The Kimley-Horn and Associate’s task order includes preparation of final design and construction documents for the V.I. Port Authority and its stakeholders, bid phase services and construction phase services for the project.
Creating the design, bid and construction phase services for the ticket counter and gate podium replacement project will require $190,000.
Tourism Commissioner and board member Joseph Boschulte, who voted against the motion, asked if the airlines had been consulted for the project.
“It should be a collective process with the end-user along every step of the way,” said Boschulte. “Particularly if we are talking about a redesign. We tend to keep making this same mistake of going ahead and then asking tenants to fit in certain parameters when the opportunity is there to leverage their relationships.”
Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe said that the airlines have been involved in the discussion of replacing the counters. “No design cannot be done without the airlines’ input and discussions,” said Dowe.
“Even recently, we have to make sure that it is something user friendly to them. They are the clients at the end of the day,” said Dowe. He also pointed out that each airline provided specs for their space.
To which Boschulte responded, “that brings more clarity.” After giving it some more thought Boschulte said that he believes there is a level of disconnect in communication with the airlines and voted against the motion.
Other action items included approval for the purchase of two 300-gallon aircraft rescue and firefighting quick response vehicles, a security service contract, and the purchase of two harbor pilot boats for the Port Authority.
Port Authority Board Members present were Boschulte, Lionel Jacobs, Willard John, Kevin Rodriguez, and Celestino A. White Sr.