Charleston County Aviation Authority

Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program

The three-story, 330,000 SF Charleston International Airport was built in 1985, and serves as the primary airport for Charleston, South Carolina. Over the years, the existing facility layout, operations and building system infrastructure all became inefficient and obsolete. The Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program (TRIP) addressed these issues by completely renovating and expanding the facility into an efficient, modern airport with the ability to keep pace with the rapidly growing economy and tourism in the Charleston area. Two new building additions totaling approximately 100,000 SF were added, one to each concourse, increasing the overall size of the airport. These additions allowed for eight new gates to be added to the concourses, almost doubling the number of current gates. Renovations included all new buildings MEP/FP engineering systems to serve the terminal building, as well as a new central security checkpoint, ticketing, concessions, baggage, and other passenger amenities.

Size333,000 SF (Total Building)

LocationCharleston, South Carolina

ServicesMEP Building Engineering, District Energy


Utility upgrades include an expansion of the standalone central energy plant (CEP). Chilled water upgrades included the relocation of two existing 420 ton water cooled chillers, and the addition of a new 820 ton, water cooled variable speed chiller, pumps, and piping. Five, 1,395 million BTU’s/Hr, natural gas, condensing, firetube boilers, pumps, and piping were added to provide upgraded heating water capacity. The emergency power system consists of two emergency generators; a 1500kW diesel engine generator located on the 2nd floor of the Central Energy Plant and a 2000kW diesel engine generator located on the Apron Level at Concourse A. The system is sized to allow the airport to process passengers during an extended power outage event. The entire CEP can operate on generator power including the chillers, which provide cooling to the terminal. 

The biggest challenge was to have an operating airport during construction without endangering passengers or delaying flights. All work was done in phases to keep the terminal building operational during construction, at no point was the terminal building completely shut down.


The Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives Best Commercial Service Airport – Architectural Project Award 2017

Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement ProgramCharleston County Aviation Authority