KANSAS CITY, Mo. — By the time the 2023 NFL Draft begins, the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport will only have been open for about a month. The city is scheduled to host several college basketball tournaments in that first month, but the draft represents a much bigger challenge.
Watching the Kansas City Chiefs draft new players at the 2022 NFL Draft got fans’ hearts pumping, but it also had a big impact on the construction crews working on Kansas City's new terminal.
“I think when we hit March of this year, that was kind of the wake-up call, ‘My gosh we're a year out,’” Joe McBride, communications manager for Kansas City’s Aviation Department, said. “But now, even more so."
KSHB 41 has been keeping close tabs on the construction efforts at KCI, with multiple reports from inside the new terminal. The project remains on time, and on budget, and McBride says there are even sections that are inching toward the finish line.
"I was in there the other day, there was a guy painting," McBride said. “That dawned on me, (and I thought) ‘Paint ok, wow, that's a finishing touch.’"
And with the clock ticking, people are noticing. Missouri Governor Mike Parson visited the new terminal for a tour recently, posting photos on Twitter, and, McBride says, Parson came away impressed.
"He (Parson) was proud of Missouri and careful that he couldn't brag up KC too much over St. Louis,” McBride said. “But, I could see that was in his eyes."
Pride is a big part of this project. McBride describes the terminal as a new welcome mat for visitors. He wants visitors and locals alike to notice, and maybe even think of an old song.
"Everything is up to date in Kansas City,” McBride said. “Instead of a 50-year-old facility, it's gonna be in its prime. I want the people that were with us, and the people that were against us to say, ‘Wow I didn't think it was gonna be this great. This is amazing, I'm really proud to be a Kansas Citian on this day.’"
McBride says his department will also have lots of conversations with the Las Vegas Aviation Department about draft logistics, including what they might do differently if they had the chance. The 2023 NFL Draft is scheduled for April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri.