Tornado-ravaged "C" Concourse to reopen Monday morning

10:39 PM, Apr 1, 2012   |    comments
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KSDK (St. Louis) - Just short of a year later, you can barely tell a tornado touched down at Lambert St. Louis International Airport. The C concourse was the most heavily damaged in last year's Good Friday storm, but Sunday night complete recovery was on the horizon.

From a power outage to running passengers, officials knew what was left April 22, 2011, would most certainly come with a cost when it came to time and money.

" I'm noticing a lot of wood panels disappearing," said St. Louisan Nate Edmonds, who is one of so many who have been forced to go along for the ride.

"I think they did a nice job using the other terminals, so I personally wasn't inconvenienced, but it's nice to have the airport back up and fully operational," added in Kelly Doria of O'Fallon, Mo.

That happens Monday at 4 a.m., as the C concourse is reopened six months ahead of schedule and under budget - at slightly below $15 million, according to Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge.

"Ninety-nine percent of the work will be complete by tomorrow morning and certainly all of the airlines will be functional," she explained. "I think people will just feel like this is a more competitive airport."

Now, don't forget that Terminal 1 was already in the middle of a $70 million update when the tornado came through. The upside to that is that when it came to shops and restaurants, a whole slew of new ones got to be chosen since the others were wiped out.

"That's kind of the full piece of it," Hamm-Niebruegge added.

Not only will there be two Starbucks, but you'll also see the arrival of a St. Louis-themed travel mart, works from local artists and a Schlafly beer bar.

" I think St. Louis has a lot of offer and if we can bring some of that into the airport so that people who are traveling, even if they're not stopping here, but passing through can experience some of that, then I think it's good," said Doria.

Yes, with those brand new seats in their upright position, it'll be good, in fact, way better than it felt to see this place soar to stardom on the big screen for the blockbuster film "Up in the Air."

" Well, if George Cloney wants to come back, I'd be happy to give him a tour," Doria added.

The first passengers to use the C concourse will come through at 4 a.m. Monday. Budweiser's Clydesdale horses will also be on hand part of the day meet and greet customers.


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