On Friday, October 7, members of the Division of Aviation and U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (Pa. 5) gathered in Philadelphia International Airport's (PHL) Terminal B/C Food Court for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the airport's newest restroom set, which features PHL's first built-in lactation suite.
"Finding a clean, quiet, accessible, private space is no small task for mothers, and the stress of traveling, plus the chaos of airports makes it all the more difficult," said Scanlon. "As a mother of three, I remember all too well the frustration of being forced to use ill-equipped spaces for breastfeeding. The new permanent lactation suite is a strong step forward in making our public spaces safer and more accessible."
The new lactation suites are one of the distinct, state-of-the-art features that set the airport's Restroom Renovation Program apart. "We all know how hectic an airport can be. Giving traveling moms calm places where they can take care of their baby’s needs was a must for the restroom program," said Api Appulingam, Deputy Director of Aviation- Capital Development. "As a mom who was nursing and traveling, an amenity like a lactation suite at an airport meant less stress and worry about finding a safe and appropriate place to express breast milk before I boarded a flight. So, I know how important this is to moms, and I am grateful that PHL is providing this amenity.
Since PHL's multi-phased Restroom Renovation Program kicked off in 2012, 18 restroom sets have been reconstructed. Each restroom set takes between eight- to-12 months to complete. The team is currently in the fourth phase of the program and will soon be commencing phases five through 9. The multi-year is now budgeted at over $100 million. In July 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded the Division of Aviation a $24 million Airport Terminals Program Grant for the restroom program as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
"This suite is just one of many high-quality projects funded under PHL’s Restroom Renovation Program, thanks to $24 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. I am proud to have cast my vote for the historic infrastructure funding to help deliver long overdue changes that benefit all of Philadelphia International Airport’s guests,” said Scanlon.
The new lactation suites were developed by a robust women-led team to develop. “I am not only proud that our restroom program includes these new features for our passengers, but also proud that Capital Development women engineers and designers led this project," said PHL Interim CEO Keith Brune. "In addition to these women, the design team comprises two women-owned businesses: Architectural Lighting Design (ALD) and Hunt Engineering Company. The success of this project is due to the women’s leadership and the team that supports them."
The team also includes Appulingam; Imad Haq, Airport Engineering Manager; Thomas Joseph, Airport Engineering Assistant Manager; consultants Julie Coyle, Sarina Stoor, Ernie Van Sant, Anmarie Rose, and Allyson Radford; design team consisting of CDA&I, Kelly Maiello Architects, Burns Engineering, Architectural Lighting Design, and Hunt Engineering Company; and project contractors Daniel J Keating, Goldsmith Associates, Surety Mechanical, and Kaser Mechanical.