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Master Plan public workshop to focus on accessibility of the project designs

(September 18, 2014) - Later this year, Tampa International Airport will break ground on the largest construction program in Airport history. This includes new escalators, steps and walkways for a 2.3 million square foot rental car facility connected by a 1.3-mile automated people mover, as well as several navigational challenges in the new main terminal expansion. While the planners, engineers, architects, consultants and members of the public have weighed in on the Master Plan project designs, the Aviation Authority hopes to hear from a very important group: those with physical disabilities or other challenges that will be using the future TPA facilities.

Person in wheelchair pushed by group through airport terminal

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon in the HCAA board room, Airport planners will hear from disability rights advocates and organizations, community partners, and users of TPA to ensure the new design concepts enhance the accessibility of the facilities. The focus group will help drive some of the elements in the projects. 

“We’ll show them where we are in the design, what our flooring will look like, what the renderings are at this point,” said Elita McMillon, Director of Ethics, Diversity and Compliance. “This meeting will be very important to us, since there are always things we don’t think of when it comes to accessibility for people of all disabilities.”

In 2011, the Aviation Authority held similar accessibility focus group workshop prior to the main terminal modernization work and the feedback was invaluable, McMillon said. 

Next week’s group is expect to be small – perhaps about 20 people, McMillon said – but the attendees will represent 10 to 12 different organizations, including physical disability advocates and guide dog groups. “Because of the size of the focus, we’ll really be able to talk one-on-one and get some great input and comments on our design,” McMillon said. “We’re looking forward to hearing their thoughts.”