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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

Last week, Denver International Airport (DEN), celebrated another milestone of the Great Hall Project with the completion of Phase 1 less than 20 months after Hensel Phelps resumed work on the project. Hensel Phelps not only met every milestone and finished on schedule, but also under budget.

This first phase of the project renovated the center portion of the Jeppesen Terminal on Levels 5 and 6 to create new check-in space for United, Southwest and eventually Frontier Airlines. The renovations created a more modern check-in experience and increased capacity in the terminal, improving operational efficiency.

The completion of Phase 1 brings many features and benefits for passengers including:

  • An additional 31,000 square feet of space for the Jeppesen Terminal as well as 158,500 square feet of newly renovated space
  • Modernized spaces with flexibility for the future! New ticketing areas in the center of Level 6 with 86 automated self-bag drop units (43 on each side) to streamline the check-in process
  • Four new restrooms with upgrades to existing restrooms

In addition to the opening of the new ticketing areas on each side of the terminal, the walls in the center of the terminal on Level 5 have also been removed, allowing passengers to traverse from north to south in the terminal without detours. The remaining barriers in the center of Level 6 will also be removed by Nov. 4 on the east side and Nov. 10 on the west side, which will also allow passengers to walk from north to south and access all areas of the curb outside of Level 6.

All of this work enables Phase 2 of the Great Hall Project, which broke ground in July 2021. Opening the center of the Jeppesen Terminal will ease the navigation of Phase 2 impacts that are consolidated to the northwest area of Levels 5 and 6 and some space in the center of Level 5.

Hensel Phelps is the contractor for both Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 2 broke ground this July and is anticipated to be complete in mid-2024 with the new security checkpoint opening to passengers in early 2024. Both phases will be complete within the original $770 million budget.




Airline employees completing training on new check-in technologies in preparation for each new check-in area to open to passengers

United and Southwest Airlines have been hard at work preparing for the new check-in areas on Level 6 to open to passengers. 

For over a month now, our airline partners have been tirelessly training on the new self-bag drop (SBD) units and airline kiosks to ensure they are experts and can help passengers with this more expedited technology. Fully dressed in the appropriate PPE, airline employees had access to the construction site to train on the SBD’s and kiosks, running through every feature in the system and mastering the tools needed to ensure that every passenger sees the new check-in process as seamless and efficient from day one.


Each airline’s system may look a little different as they have been programmed to match each airline’s baggage specifications and operations. These new systems are highly intelligent, so making sure that every employee can assist passengers in any situation and at any point in the check-in process is imperative.

These new units are a better way to check-in for both the airlines and our travelers and utilize enhanced technologies to expedite the entire check-in process. 

Take a look at the next article to learn a couple of tip and tricks about checking- in!


In September, we discussed the new self-bag-drop (SBD) units and airline kiosks that are now installed in the center of the Jeppesen Terminal on Level 6 as part of Phase 1 of the Great Hall Project. This new system of checking-in at DEN will be faster and simpler, but how can you make it even easier? Follow some simple tips and tricks for successfully tagging your own bags at DEN!



  • Remove any old tags that may be left on your baggage from a previous trip, including the small rectangular sticker.
  • Print your bag tag from the airline kiosks by selecting from prompts shown on your screen.
  • Take the bag tag and identify the end that includes your specific and individual flight and baggage information – this piece should be kept with you. This end of the tag will be identified by a smaller bar code and can be peeled off for you to keep.
  • Pro Tip: A convenient way to keep track of this is to stick it to the back of your boarding pass! You can also take a photo of it with your smartphone for safekeeping.
  • Take the rest of your bag tag and loop it through the handle of your baggage. Make sure the sticky side is up and all other printed information is facing down.
  • If you have any loose shoulder straps on your baggage, they should be removed, if possible, and placed inside your luggage to ensure they are not caught or snagged on belts or other equipment within the baggage handling system.
  • Follow instructions on the back of your bag tag by peeling back the adhesive on one end and lining up the sticky side with identified lines on the other side. This ensures that all barcodes and information are visible and not obstructed when applied correctly.
  • Now, take your baggage to the self-bag drop unit, place it onto the conveyor with bag tag barcodes and information facing up to be scanned and taken to your departing flight.
  • Follow all the information on the instructional screens of the self-bag drop unit to ensure your baggage is checked in for your flight and dispatched into the baggage handling system. 

Easy, right? You will be amazed at how easy the whole process is, but don’t worry, if passengers need any assistance there will be airline agents standing by to lend a helping hand.

If you are flying with United, Southwest or Frontier Airlines, in the near future, you’ll get to experience this new self-bag drop process. Keep an eye out soon for a video of the new check-in process with tips and tricks for using these new technologies at DEN!  


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Larry Larson in the field for Phase 1 of the Great Hall Project on Level 6 in the new airline check-in areas

It’s difficult to set down the pen, close the laptop and think about someone else picking up your work where you left off, but it’s also a humbling and major accomplishment to be able to retire after 45 years supervising/managing work in the construction industry. Larry Larson with Construction Management Services (CMTS) will retire on Dec. 31, 2021, finishing his career on an extraordinary note at DEN. When Larson began working for CMTS more than five years ago, he began work on the Great Hall project as a Construction Management Consultant and has continued in that role ever since.

“I had the opportunity to watch the design evolution and monitor everything on the construction side, specifically on quality assurance and conformance, working with special inspection teams, inspectors, and working closely with the DEN administration, operations and maintenance,” Larson explained. “This is a phenomenal project and an amazing undertaking to make such major changes to an operating facility after 25 years, as well as, witness the dynamics of running a world-class airport – it’s incredible.”

Larson has lived in Colorado for 40 years and is proud to call it home. He recalls the transition from Stapleton Airport to DEN when it was first built in 1995.

“I flew in and out of Stapleton back in the day, and I remember thinking the new airport was so far out there. It’s amazing the transition over the years and how the airport now feels closer, like it’s in town and not in the middle of nowhere,” said Larson.


DEN’s Great Hall Project isn’t the first high-profile project Larson has worked on in his career. Before and during his 30 years with Jacobs Engineering, Larson has worked on the construction management of the Veteran Affairs hospital, Denver’s Justice Center, the State Capitol Building renovation, State correctional facilities, other state and federal government projects, and iconic private projects in the Metro area.

“Back in the day, I was working on a state correctional facility when they (Denver was) first working on DIA (now DEN). I remember seeing the railroad trains on Smith Road hauling in equipment for the build. It was train car after train car they brought in just to start that (airport) project. It was interesting watching how it all first got started,” said Larson.

Coming full-circle and working on another iconic Denver project is a career highlight for Larson. Having been in the construction and construction management industry since he was 16 years old starting out as a concrete finisher, it is time for him to hang up his hard hat.

Lending a thought of advice to anyone starting in the industry, Larson explained he remembers one of his first mentors telling him to pay attention, listen and learn.

With a smile on his face he said, “You have to look at the people who have been in the industry, and that’s everyone from trades to supervisors to leadership. You learn a lot from just watching the trades people. They are the core of all this. I give a lot of credit to the people out there who are carrying the tools and doing the work.”

Larson explained he’s been lucky to have so many great mentors over the years. With a nod of appreciation of his experiences, particularly working with DEN, Larson said, “I would like to thank all the leadership (at DEN) and, of course, CMTS has been a great firm to work for and through LS Gallegos (Larry Gallegos, owner of LSG), I want to give them proper credit, too, because they’ve allowed me to do my job and have been very supportive.”

Larry, the DEN team wishes you the best in your next endeavors! You will be missed!


One could say Construction Management Services (CMTS) has “grown up” with DEN airport over the past 30 years, starting with roots at the former Stapleton Airport. The Denver-born company began in 1987 by King Harris.

Starting as a quality assurance inspection company 35 years ago, CMTS began inspection work at Stapleton Airport. In the years to follow, CMTS transitioned work to DEN as the buildout of the new airport was underway. A quarter of a century later, CMTS is proud to continue its exceptional service through build-outs 25 years ago, through operations, and now, the expansion and renovation of DEN. Offering more than quality assurance, CMTS has grown to provide additional services including Project and Construction Management, Engineering, and Emergency Management Services.


Hezekiah Harris, second generation owner of CMTS

“My father [King Harris] and his two partners, one of which serves on the Board of Directors today, started the company,” said Hezekiah Harris, second-generation owner of CMTS. “Today, we are a full-blown project management company. We went from a single office in Denver with three employees to having more than 160 employees with offices across 10 states.”

Regarding the current work at DEN, Harris explained, “We have been part of the LSG team [LS Gallegos], selected early on to support the City’s Special Project team to oversee the construction for the Great Hall. So, we’ve been involved since day one. We’ve transitioned the core team [personnel from CMTS, LSG, Parsons, and HNTB] from the buildout of the Westin Hotel and Transit Center to now, the Great Hall Project.”

Today, about 70% of CMTS business involves transportation. It was when Harris took over the company in 2000 that the large program emphasis shifted back to aviation projects.

“I’m a transportation guy,” said Harris. “CMTS has been involved in big projects. Yes, we do schools and we do underground water projects. We were the associate general contractor when Coors Field was being built. So, we do a lot of things, but moving people excites me. Moving people in the aviation space excites me more. As a builder and Project Management firm, every kind of project you can imagine that can be done you’ll find at an airport.”

Not always knowing he’d take over the family business, it seems almost destiny – Harris has always had an affinity for airports. He grew up in the flight path of Stapleton Airport, often riding his bike to the end of the runway to watch airplanes take off.

Harris said, “I always knew I was going to be connected to transportation industry in some shape, form or fashion – that I’ve always known, I just wasn’t sure how.”

Harris explained that at the end of the day, CMTS is a vehicle for him. He is in the business to create opportunities. He wants to create opportunities for clients to have successful projects; opportunities for the people who are a part of the CMTS team to enjoy what they do every day and to apply their trade; and opportunities for people in the community to learn and grow with hopes they become part of the construction and transportation industry, too.

“At the end of the day, it’s simple. We are a client-centered company. We believe in taking care of our clients and taking care of our people. Everything that results from that, is positive,” said Harris.

Reflecting on the work CMTS has accomplished over the years, Harris said, “We have been involved with some of the biggest aviation projects and programs in the U.S. Denver is home. To see the progression from Stapleton to DIA (now DEN) to the Westin Hotel and Transit center 25 years later, to now, the Great Hall Project, and seeing how the airport has evolved and grown to become a bigger part of the economic engine of the region is remarkable. For me, Denver will always be the crown jewel in terms of what we’ve done as an organization as a company.”


Phase 2 of the Great Hall Project is underway to build a new security checkpoint in the northwest portion of the Jeppesen Terminal on Level 6. With construction comes an immense amount of work that is contracted out to Minority Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) firms.

Work on the project goes out for bid to MWBE’s in specific scope packages. Packages have a wide range of work that is outlined in a scope for MWBE’s to evaluate if they are certified to perform and would like to pursue the work. So far, two bid packages, specifically targeted at MWBEs, have been awarded - allowing them the opportunity to perform as primes for that body of work and to grow in their capacity. Other packages are in various phases of being brought out at this point on Phase 2 of the project. Each package has individual MWBE goals to help maximize participation for our small business community.

The following packages have been awarded to date:

Bid Package 1: Structural Scopes


Spray-Applied Fireproofing – awarded to Rolling Plains Construction

Structural Demolition – awarded to Engineering Demolition, Inc.

Structural Steel – awarded to Pikes Peak Steel (fabrication) + Total Welding, Inc (Erection)

Concrete – awarded to HP Concrete (Vertical) + Coloscapes Concrete (Horizontal)


Bid Package 2: Early Demolition/ Enabling work


Demolition – awarded to Hillen Corporation

Electrical and LVSS – awarded to iPower Denver Electric, Inc.

Mechanical and Plumbing – awarded to JCOR Mechanical, Inc

Fire Protection – awarded to Frontier Fire





There are numerous resources to help determine if you and your MWBE firm are a good fit for upcoming work:

  • For information and updates specific to the Great Hall, visit The Great Hall Project Opportunities Page which includes information about
  • Upcoming bid opportunities
  • Awarded contracts
  • Upcoming outreach events
  • Division of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO)/ MWBE, SBE and DBE resources
  • Workforce Outreach and Development tools

You can also visit the DEN Commerce Hub page for DEN-specific resources for all small businesses and champion efforts that improve policy, increase access, and position firms to bid on projects across all DEN departments!





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