Women-owned businesses taking KCI terminal construction, design to new heights

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The promise of women-owned businesses plays big role in the new KCI terminal.

"Sometimes it's difficult being a female," Jennifer Hart said.

She owns Hartline Construction, based in Kansas City, Missouri.

"It's hard when you're not part of the, if I could call it, the good ol' boy network," Hart said.

But that didn't stop her from putting in a bid and successfully achieving one of the first projects out at the new KCI terminal. The company has now grown from four employees in 2011 to now 15.

"It's a great feeling to know we're on such a big product," Hart said.

They cover anything carpentry related on site, including putting up walls at headquarters.

Most recently, Hart's employees rolled out "plan tables" for the architects and engineers.

"Hartline's been a big help," one architect said. "Not just this area, but other areas. They've been a real asset to the project."

It's out with the old and in with the new improvements.

Justin Meyer heads up aviation. He said the terminal's design addresses the truckload of complaints about KCI Airport, built in 1972.

"We're not designing for 2015, and we're not designing for 2019," Meyer said. "We're designing for 2023."

Things like lack of space, seating and restrooms after going through security are being addressed.

"When it comes to the restrooms, I think it was a no-brainer to say let's make it accessible to everybody," Meyer said.

The design includes all-gender restrooms, as well as more nursing facilities than any other airport in the country.

Meyer said parking will see a boost, too. The new garage will have 6,300 spots -- compared to the 4,500 now.

As for travel inside the airport: "All sorts of new technology and new styles that we'll be able to implement because we're not going to be as constrained on space," Meyer said.

Meyer continues to design high ceilings and glass windows at the new terminal.

But Hartline is breaking the glass ceiling and encourages other women building a business to do the same.

"We're getting stronger," Hart said. "Persevere if it's in your heart that you want to do this."

Meyer also said they're looking to add local flavor to the restaurants, but it's too soon to tell which ones they'll be.

What's dirt and rocks now is expected to transform into the new KCI terminal by 2023.

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