San Diego International Airport, New Federal Inspection Station, San Diego, CA

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International flights have a significant economic impact on their surrounding regions. As the San Diego International Airport offers more and more nonstop international flights, their recently-completed 130,000 Federal Inspection Station (FIS) provides an expanded space for the increasing number of travelers. The new FIS streamlines the passenger screening process, using the latest technologies from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), such as mobile passport control and biometric technology, as well as a “bags first” system. With an open, intuitive layout, new reduced wait times, more queuing space, the FIS provides a more positive and welcoming arrival experience for tourists and visitors alike.

The engineering design for the FIS focused on passenger comfort. For example, the cooling system was designed to provide a comfortable thermal environment, despite the widely fluctuating number of people at any given time. The sophisticated Building Management System provides a comfortable, energy-efficient environment by optimizing building operation and limiting the utility service demand on existing infrastructure.

Meeting an aggressive delivery schedule, the Design-Build LEED Silver project was completed in just 14 months. This fast-track schedule— which is approximately half of what design teams typically view as comfortable for a project of this scope—was perhaps the greatest obstacle of the project. Other engineering challenges included installing high-capacity systems with energy efficient duct distribution in areas with very tight space constraints. The building was also designed to be sustainable, with design features such as on-campus solar panels, natural light and reflective roofing, as well as water efficient plumbing systems and a storm water recapture and filtering system.

As the engineer of record for both the mechanical and electrical systems, Syska was responsible for MEP design services, architectural lighting design, and vertical transportation services. In addition, Syska designed new and renovated lighting systems in all public spaces, back-of-house areas, gatehouses and CBP spaces.

Syska also served as a project manager, facilitating coordination and collaboration while keeping the project on schedule and on track to meet its goals.

130,000 sf


Vertical Transportation

Completion Date

LEED Silver