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Santa Barbara Airport’s New Terminal Sticks to Traditional Style with Modern Twists

The building combines a few old features with a sustainable design, exquisite art, better technology and a 360-degree view from glass boarding bridges

From the exquisite art pieces to the classic red tile, the Santa Barbara Airport’s new 72,000-square-foot, two-story terminal follows trademark Santa Barbara style.

The $54 million building, which opened Friday for a media tour and is scheduled to begin operating at the end of July, includes glass boarding ramps, polished concrete floors and a 1930s lantern transferred from the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. In addition, the sustainable building is halfway through the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process. The building features floors and counters composed of recyclable material, dual-pane windows, and ticket counters made of Plyboo, a renewable plywood-bamboo mix.

The first stop on Friday’s tour was at the main lobby and ticket counters. The lobby displays the huge, rustic lantern from the courthouse. It has been restored and will provide the main source of light in the main entrance room. The ticket counters, located to the right of the main entrance, exemplify the “green transition” that is featured throughout the building.

Near the ticket counters is the north entrance to the terminal, which displays a circular tile floor design created by Lori Ann David and christened “Santa Barbara 360°.” The artwork is David’s interpretation of Santa Barbara and is complemented by a blue rotunda ceiling that reflects onto the piece. Eventually the entrance also will include a hallway that leads directly into the old terminal, which will be used as parking offices and include concessions.

Friday’s tour progressed to the back patio, which, according to airport marketing director Terri Gibson, is designed to “replicate the patio at the old terminal.” Along with the view of the airfield and the Santa Ynez Mountains, the patio features what might be the most well-known and entertaining piece of artwork at the airport: the ball machine.

Gibson next led the tour through baggage claim, which is not automatic, mimicking the old terminal’s style. The designers of the building decided to continue with the old design to keep the cost down and lower the energy demand of the building.

The media tour then continued to the second floor of the terminal, which will be accessible only to ticket holders. The building features an elevator and an escalator, above which hangs the Peake Mural painted by Channing Peake. The upstairs terminal includes yet another piece of artwork, a wall mural titled “Fiesta” that used to be located at El Paseo.

The second floor of the building consists of the boarding and deplaning areas. With a focus on improvement, the boarding area now will feature a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shop, as well as a gift shop and a Mexican restaurant that passengers can access after passing through security.

Perhaps the most flashy characteristic of the new building will be the glass boarding bridges. Santa Barbara will be just the second airport in the country to install them, giving passengers a 360-degree view of Santa Barbara’s mountain range, ocean and airfield. The bridges are also air conditioned, and to add to the sustainability of the building, the plane that is loading passengers will access its air conditioning from the bridges — allowing the engine to be shut off while boarding to reduce emissions.

Overall, the new terminal is similar to the old one with its classic Spanish architecture style, but it adds a modern twist with its environmentally friendly features and trendy glass boarding bridges. The building is also more technologically advanced and will feature self-service ticketing and more accessible car rentals.

Noozhawk intern Kristen Gowdy can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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