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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jul. 29, 201512:00 PM EST

JIA plans $19M renovation for baggage system


Travelers through Jacksonville International Airport will learn soon how a new baggage screening system will affect their travel, but it likely won’t have a major impact on convenience.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority is preparing to renovate its baggage-screening and handling system in a $19 million project. The authority said the Transportation Security Administration will fund 90 percent of the project and JAA will pick up 10 percent.

The city is reviewing a building-permit application for the job by Balfour Beatty Construction at a construction cost of almost $17.4 million.

Community Relations Administrator Debbie Jones said the project is a total upgrade of the checked-bag screening equipment and conveyor equipment.

“The current machines have reached the end of their lifecycle,” she said.

The current machines were mandated by the TSA in the wake of 9/11. That system was installed in 2002 at a cost of $20 million, with half paid by state and federal grants and the rest by JAA.

About 4,500 pieces of luggage are processed daily at the airport. Jones said the new machines will handle baggage more efficiently and accommodate higher demand as airport traffic increases.

She said construction for the new system should start within the next two months and should be completed in a year to 14 months.

Jones said the authority is working through final details and coordinating the new system with the airlines on the logistics.

She said there would be a small impact in processing checked luggage into the system, but before any changes start that affect travelers, media will be given a preview to share with the public.

Assumption launching $3.8M Legacy project

Construction should begin this summer on the Legacy Project at Assumption Catholic School in the St. Nicholas area, where the school has celebrated 90 years and Assumption Catholic Church has marked a century.

Principal Maryann Jimenez said the $3.8 million project will add more classrooms as well as a nursery so the school can provide a faith-based environment to children from infants through elementary school.

The project also will allow the campus to house more women religious who will serve the area Catholic community.

A pending building permit shows a $3.8 million, two-story, 27,680-square-foot structure will be developed on the eastern side of the Assumption campus at 2431 Atlantic Blvd.

Plans show the first floor will accommodate rooms for child care for children up to kindergarten age. The second floor will include classrooms for sixth through eighth grades and a science lab.

Sauer Inc. is the general contract. Jacksonville-based Kasper Architecture and Development Inc. is the architect.

The project should be completed in summer 2016.

Site plans show the private school’s project will move students from one building to the new one.

Goals of the project are to provide a Catholic education and care for infants from 6 weeks old through eighth grade, enlarge student capacity while keeping small class sizes, create more parish meeting spaces, provide a youth center and return the convent to its original purpose.

Kasper Architecture explains the construction will include covered walkways on the second floor to connect the new middle school building with the existing classrooms and gymnasium on campus.

A site plan filed with the city shows that the new building will include classrooms because another building will be converted back into a convent. The 14 classrooms in that building will be turned into 14 living units.

The convent is located on the second floor above the existing preschool. Kathleen Bagg, spokeswoman for the Diocese of St. Augustine, said when the new building is completed, the preschool will move there, giving the sisters back their original convent space.

Jimenez said the need for the sisters has grown in the school system. They assist with religious education and other special activities.

She said when she joined the Assumption staff five years ago, there were four women religious and in the fall there will be 10.

Delaney’s transition group report is done

University of North Florida President John Delaney said his economic development transition subcommittee report for Mayor Lenny Curry is good to go.

The group wrapped up its work July 20. Delaney, a former mayor, was checking whether the members needed to meet again for a formal vote on the recommendations, which were discussed and amended that day.

He said Monday the group’s vote to accept the report as amended completes the job.

Among other suggestions, the group recommended that Curry maintain the city’s existing economic-development structure; expand incentives to include lower-wage jobs in areas that need employment; support development of a Downtown convention center; evaluate under-used city properties for better use; improve Jacksonville’s brand; and streamline regulations and permitting.

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