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New Indy Airport Showcases Hoosier State

A new Indianapolis International Airport isn't just an improved terminal, but a new place to showcase the Hoosier state.

It’s been five months since the ribbon was cut and the doors opened on the newest Indianapolis icon. The first major U.S. airport to open since 9/11.

The Indianapolis International Airport is sleek, bright and large, with samples of modern technology everywhere you look.

Airport director Robert Duncan says public reception has been outstanding.

“Everybody is very pleased with it. They note that it’s clean, it’s large, it’s easy to use, it’s very intuitive of finding your way through the airport. The reception has been exceedingly good.”

The new airport boasts higher standards with 8-thousand more parking spaces, a moving walkway that triggers a light show. Check-in lanes now include business, casual and family lanes. And travelers can relax in the main spacious public area called Civic Plaza.

The airport is working on becoming LEED certified, a standard for environmental safe building. Besides recycling, terminal lighting is controlled to adjust to sunlight.

And those long taxi rides? The new terminal decreases the wait in a plane by about 17 minutes per flight, saving about one million dollars per year for each airline in fuel costs.

A huge savings during the economic downturn.

But the new airport has helped the local economy in other ways. The price tag for this facility – 1.1 billion dollars.

“We made a conscious effort that a lot of local involvement local businesses would be both involved in the construction, the maintenance, and also the concession and food and beverage aspect of the airport,” says Duncan. “Yes, local involvement in a transportation facility of this nature is extremely important.”

One of those local companies is from Bloomington. Nature’s Way Interior and Exterior Landscape owner Jeremiah Young says the addition of live plants to the facility is not just icing… but candles on the cake.

“Part of what the plants accomplish here is to define areas, they create welcoming areas to sit down and take a few minutes to relax. As we all know, traveling can be sometimes tedious and somewhat anxious. I believe what the plants do here is say sit down, take a break, and be welcomed with some Hoosier hospitality.”

The plant design is to reflect Hoosier Heritage with plants that compliment the airport design … without blocking the ‘eyes in the skies.’ That is, security cameras.

“For our employees, who have the opportunity to come here on a weekly basis and receive the accolades, the Your plants are beautiful. The plants do so much for welcoming us to this airport.”

Since major airports act as the gateway to the city, they take the opportunity to showcase local culture. That’s a major boost to resident artists.

Art adorns the airport through glass murals, mosaics and other interesting visuals, such as these breathing sculptures.

Lynn Basa, a native of Bloomington and IU graduate designed the floor-based artwork for Civic Plaza.

Dale Enochs, a sculptor and IU graduate from Bloomington, carved a pair of wall relief sculptures out of limestone for the ticket hall.

IU Fine Arts professor Jeffrey Wolin is the first artist selected to display his work in the airport’s rotating gallery space. The display is based from his accompanying book “New Faces at the Crossroads.” Wolin made portraits of immigrants from around the world who now call central Indiana home.

“I wanted to go with the ones that were visually the most exciting and had stories that were compelling about what it means to be an American in the 21st century.  Why are people still coming here from all over the world?  And what do they find in America?”

“So I wanted to explore their struggles as well as their triumphs.  Their triumphs are they’re moving forward with their families and trying to have their kids go to college and have opportunities they never had, which I can totally relate to and think is a wonderful part of the American Dream.”

He narrowed the 30 photos down to 16 and they are proudly on display near Civic Plaza.

“I’ve shown my work in public places before but never a public space that had 5 million people going through it.  The opportunity to do that for artists, to have that kind of public exposure is really fantastic.  It lets you know who your audience really is.  It’s not just an art audience.  I’ve gotten some really wonderful feedback.”

Joe Hren

Anchor, Indiana Newsdesk - WTIU & WFIU News. Follow him on Twitter @Joe_Hren

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