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Designing a Terminal Expansion and a Better Passenger Experience

Will Rogers World Airport Passenger Terminal Expansion
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

“We are positioning ourselves as a premier airport that balances passenger security with the customer experience.”

Mark Kranenburg
Airports Director, Oklahoma City Department of Airports

Will Rogers World Airport is serving more passengers, flights and destinations every year. As Oklahoma City’s leaders embarked on an ambitious program to design an expansion to the terminal, they also saw the opportunity to design a better passenger experience.

The team designed the expansion to enhance people’s satisfaction at each step of their journey through the airport. Passengers who have a positive experience in terminals are more likely to return and, feeling more relaxed, will spend more money in airport shops and restaurants.

The design accomplishes this in several ways:

Streamlining security screenings: The project includes a new eight-lane security checkpoint that will replace the two existing checkpoints and relieve congestion. Minimizing the number of columns here creates highly flexible, open space that makes it easier for passengers to move through security while also supporting future changes to TSA’s screening programs.

New town square: Beyond the security checkpoint, travelers enter a “town square” that acts as the new heart of the airport. From here they have access to a variety of shopping, dining and lounge spaces conveniently located just steps from their gates. A dramatic skylight and expansive windows draw in natural light and create a bright, relaxed indoor environment. Public art installations connect passengers to Oklahoma City and its residents.

Destination in itself: To further engage the community, the project is bringing back a feature from the Golden Age of air travel: a public observation gallery. This suspended viewing deck floats in a pre-security area above the terminal’s town square. Open to visitors, the gallery will have aviation-related exhibits and offer memorable views of the concourses and airfield. From this space meeters and greeters can also see friends and family members move through the gates.

More flights: Adding four gates enables Will Rogers World Airport to attract more airlines and offer travelers more flight options. This increases the total number of gates to 21 and begins to establish an east concourse that can be expanded in the future. The airport also is using this expansion project to prepare to offer direct international service from Oklahoma City in the future. Under the new concourse, the team designed a shell for an international arrivals facility that can quickly be configured to handle two simultaneous arriving wide-body aircraft.

Familiar but new: The architectural design for the expansion respects the existing terminal while reinterpreting it in a contemporary way. In the new wing, for example, the design preserves the color palette of the original floor tile yet recreates it with much more durable terrazzo.

Other amenities: High-tech improvements will enable passengers to receive real-time flight information on their smart phones. A wider concourse provides more space for different seating options and amenities.

Business as usual: To minimize disruptions to the airport’s operations, the team was able to add temporary gates, isolate the area under construction and designate it as a landside access site. This designation made it more efficient and economical to build on compared to an airside site.

HOK has collaborated with Oklahoma City-based FSB on the design.


160,000 sq. ft. / 14,865 sq. m.


Facility Programming
Interior Design
Terminal Planning


29 September 2015
“FSB and HOK Designing Expanded Terminal at Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport”
HOK News