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The Great Hall Project has made some tremendous progress and celebrated several accomplishments in 2021. As one phase completed construction, another phase broke ground and we are looking forward to more Great Hall Project accomplishments and news in the new year!

The center of the terminal that was previously under construction for Phase 1 is now open and operational for United and Southwest passengers and eventually Frontier passengers. These brand-new spacious check-in and ticketing areas are complete with new self-bag drop units that expedite the check-in process and improve the DEN travel experience.

DEN brought on general contractor Hensel Phelps in 2020 and hit the ground running to finish Phase 1 of the project. 2021 proved to be no different. Roughly 892,000 safe work hours were put in this year while still completing this phase of the project more than a month ahead of schedule and achieving every contractual milestone on time or ahead of schedule.

In addition to these project milestones, there were some noteworthy achievements of which DEN and the project team are very proud of:


To celebrate these milestones that led to the successful completion of Phase 1, an Oct. 27 ribbon cutting ceremony featured DEN, elected officials, airline partners, the project team and numerous Great Hall Project Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and stakeholders. 


Photo 1- Ribbon featuring DEN, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Hensel Phelps for the Phase 1 ribbon cutting event.Photo 2 - Level 6 west, currently the new United Airlines check-in area, during the Phase 1 ribbon cutting event. Photo 3 - Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and DEN Chief Executive Officer Phil Washington joined by the Federal Aviation Administration, Hensel Phelps and United Airlines representatives to cut the ribbon on the new ticketing area on the west side of Level 6.

Not only did Phase 1 of the project wrap up, but Hensel Phelps also broke ground on Phase 2 in the northwest area of the terminal in July 2021. Since then, crews have been hard at work demolishing the old tenant spaces on Levels 5 and 6 to make way for a new security checkpoint on the northwest side of Level 6 by Q1 2024.


Photo 1- Larry Nau, TSA Federal Security Director for Colorado delivering key remarks at Phase 2 groundbreaking. Photo 2 - Kim Day, former DEN Chief Executive Officer, Larry Nau, TSA Federal Security Director for Colorado, Cristal DeHerrera, DEN Chief of Staff, Michael Sheehan, DEN Senior Vice President Great Hall Project, Derek Hoffine, Vice President and District Manager for Hensel Phelps and Alan Salazar, Chief of Staff for Mayor Hancock pulling new rendering of Phase 2 of the project to reveal for the very first time. Photo 3 - Rendering of Phase 2 of the Great Hall Project.

After being under construction for only 6 months, Phase 2 has already achieved:


As you can see, 2021 was a busy and exciting year on the project. We are looking forward to another big year in 2022 as Phase 2 of the project continues to build out our new security checkpoint on Level 6.


Denver International Airport (DEN) recently announced its plans for the Completion Phase of the Great Hall Project, which includes a full buildout of improvements to the Jeppesen Terminal. The announcement of this phase comes on the heels of the completion of Phase 1, which constructed new ticketing/check-in spaces with self-bag drop units for United and Southwest passengers in the center of terminal.


Photo 1- South end of the Terminal with view to the north. Photo 2 - East and west security with view to the north. Photo 3 - Center of the Terminal with view to the north.

“Fully building out the Great Hall Project now is the responsible thing to do and is crucial to DEN’s future success,” said DEN CEO Phil Washington. “It is essential that we continue the work we have started to better protect our passengers, upgrade our aging facility and prepare it for the future. We are recovering quickly, and our growth will continue to be robust over the next 10 to 20 years. Time is of the essence and these improvements must happen now before it’s even more expensive and disruptive to passengers later.”

The proposed Completion Phase plan must first get approved by Denver City Council. The proposal includes the following:

  • Improved safety for passengers. A new security checkpoint with enhanced technology on the northeast side of Level 6. With the completion of this second checkpoint, both the checkpoints on Level 5 will be relocated to Level 6. At the same time, this will enable DEN to add more screening lanes, increasing capacity by more than 60%.
  • Modern and spacious ticketing spaces. New check in areas will be built on the south end of Level 6 for all remaining airlines. These modular spaces will provide greater flexibility for future airline expansion and other changing needs in the future.
  • Upgraded facility. The project will renovate restrooms and replace flooring, lighting, elevators/escalators, etc. These improvements will save DEN approximately $200-250 million in maintenance costs over 10 years.
  • Comfortable spaces to meet and greet travelers. This includes both domestic and international arrivals on Level 5.
  • Developing a pipeline of aviation talent. A new Center of Excellence and Equity in Aviation will be constructed on Level 4 of the Westin Denver International Airport. The Center will engage, educate, empower, motivate, and provide opportunities for under-represented students and young people who are interested and passionate about careers in aviation. It will help build a future skilled workforce and become a focal point for aviation knowledge and best practices. 

If approved by Denver City Council, the $1.3 billion Great Hall Completion will begin in 2022 and is expected to be complete between spring 2027 and summer 2028 with sections opening along the way. DEN is committed to minimizing the impact that construction has on passengers. Read more about the Great Hall Completion Phase here.


The recently completed Phase 1 space of the Great Hall Project has really made an impression on our airline partners and passengers traveling through DEN. Take a look at some recent reactions and testimonies that have made our day.

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“The new bright and open space is beautiful and very inviting for our employees and passengers. This new space is exceptional and our employees are loving it! Everyone feels welcomed as they enter into our new check-in area and the new restroom facilities are an extremely positive attribute to this brand-new space.”

- Jim Ronan, United Airlines

“The Denver airport Southwest Airlines new section is well-planned, nicely lighted, and includes plenty of kiosks and helpful employees. It was a pleasure to see the huge improvement, technology, and new layout. Great planning and execution on moving passengers through the area easily.”

- A valued Southwest Airlines customer

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Haven’t seen the new center terminal for yourself? Snap a photo and tag us next time you travel through DEN and let us know what you think of the new and improved check-in areas!


If you remember in past newsletters, we have talked about structural steel for Phase 1 of the Great Hall Project. Just like in Phase 1, Phase 2 involves installing structural steel to build numerous elements of the project.

In Phase 2, crews will be using structural steel to reinforce and build the:

  • New security checkpoint on Level 6
  • Extended balcony on Level 6 overlooking Level 5
  • New triple escalator and elevator being installed from Level 6 to Level 4
  • New escalator on the west curbside between Levels 5 and 6

How much steel will it take to build these project elements? Phase 2 will be using 180 tons of structural steel! 180 tons is a lot of steel, equaling over 395,000 pounds. 


Spyder Crane on Phase 2 of the Great Hall Project installing the structural steel for the balcony extension on Level 6, overlooking Level 5.


Waiting for someone to arrive at the terminal or a little early for your own flight? What is better than a hot cup of coffee to hold you over?

With the completion of Phase 1 of the Great Hall Project, two new coffee shops have been placing the finishing touches on their spaces on Level 6. Both Kabod and Caribou Coffee are located within the new check-in areas in the center of the terminal on the east and west sides near the United and Southwest Airline check-in areas. Caribou opened their doors to the public for the first time on Dec. 20 with a celebration to commemorate the occasion. Kabod will open in early January.

Caribou Coffee is a familiar brand worldwide and at DEN with four locations throughout the airport. Caribou provides high-quality and handcrafted beverages that help fuel life’s adventure. Like DEN, Caribou is known for their commitment to the passenger experience and sustainability and serves 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee and espresso.


Caribou Coffee on Level 6 in the center of the Jeppesen Terminal near the Southwest Airlines check-in area.

Kabod Coffee Roasters is a local organic and fair-trade roaster. Through collaboration with farming communities and their customers, Kabod is fostering sustainability from crop to cup. With the careful selection of beans and their skilled roasting, they are creating a unique experience that captures the passion they have for supporting hardworking farmers and advocating for sustainable coffee practices.

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Kabod Coffee space on the west side of Level 6 at the United check-in areas in the center of the Jeppesen Terminal.

Check out one, or both, of these new spaces next time you are at DEN, and support these new concessions!



Shula Gorski, Founder and President of Reliant Energy Systems

As a leading insulation contractor in Colorado, Reliant Energy Systems, Inc. has been working on Denver International Airport (DEN) improvements almost as long as they have been in business. They were awarded work on the Great Hall project with U.S. Engineering in 2020. Reliant Energy Systems was founded in 2010 by Shula Gorski and her husband James Gorski, who is Vice President.

“James worked in the insulation trade for 37 years, and I had just completed my Master of Business Administration (MBA),” said Shula Gorski, President and founder of Reliant Energy Systems, explaining how the business came to be.

Starting with three employees, in just over a decade the company has grown to more than 60 employees. Today the management team has more than 100 years of combined industry experience, a testament to the outstanding work that pours from Reliant Energy Systems on every project. 

With core values focused on safety, teamwork and accountability, Reliant Energy Systems works persistently on improving their trade with every job. Offering a wide variety of insulation applications for commercial and industrial products, they provide insulation services for ductwork, plumbing (heating, cooling, steam), cryogenic piping and systems (requiring extremely low temperatures), boilers, vessels, tanks and much more.

Reliant Energy Systems is passionate about the quality of our craftsmanship and the safety we bring to every project,” said Gorski.


Phase 1 of Great Hall Project, insulated duct in duct wrap blanket completed by Reliant Energy Systems

Gorski recalls Reliant Energy Systems started with smaller projects and has now grown exponentially to work on multimillion dollar projects. Resume highlights for Reliant Energy Systems include projects with Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Inc. (DHHA), DEN Concourse B-East and West Expansion areas, Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, Red Square Data Center in Centennial, and projects with the University of Colorado. Adding the Great Hall Project to their resume has been a highlight for the company.

Over the years we’ve really strengthened our relationships within the mechanical industry and with the City and County of Denver,” explained Gorski. “We work with great people and companies such as U.S. Engineering. The Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) community at DEN and the greater Denver area is so supportive and is a great asset to our small business.”



Photo 1 - Northwest area of Levels 5 and 6 for Phase 2 of the project with construction site demolished and ready for the installation of structural steel. Photo 2 - From the center of Level 6, new Southwest and United Airlines check-in areas to each side, completed with Phase 1 of the project. Photo 3 - Southwest Airlines passengers checking luggage through a new self-bag drop unit with the assistance of a Southwest Airlines agent. Photo 4 - United Airlines passengers checking in for their flight on a new ticketing kiosk with the assistance of a United agent.


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8500 Peña Blvd., 8500 Peña Blvd.,

Denver, CO 80247

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