PHL Philadelphia International Airport

The Project:

In May 2018, the United Service Organizations (USO) of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey unveiled its new Liberty USO Center in PHL’s Terminal E. Operated by 250 volunteers, Liberty USO provides support, comfort, morale and recreational services to service members and their families 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (including holidays). The previous space, which was designed eight years ago, was in need of redesign and expansion to better meet the needs of staff and the 85,000 visitors it served each year.

The Work:

Originally located in Terminal A-East, the work included relocating the new Liberty USO terminal to Terminal E. Situated at the top of the Terminal E corridor, this new location is more prominent and visible to passengers. The new, expanded floor plan includes a new entranceway; main reception area; bereavement space; kitchen, serving, café and dining areas; gaming, lounge and computer area; media and children’s rooms; laundry and dorm room; restrooms and shower area; and office space.

The Result:

Today, service members and their families are now greeted to a new 4,600-square-foot Liberty USO Center, which features sliding entry doors, and an open layout with high ceilings and views of the airfield. Interior highlights include contemporary furnishings in the cafe area, lounges, theater, playroom, gaming and computer areas, and office space. It also includes restrooms and shower area, along with bunkrooms for men and women with sleeping space for a total of 12. The new center can accommodate approximately 85 people at a time.

Since opening, usage of the new space has far outpaced that of the previous space, requiring the need to hire additional volunteers and staff to cover shifts, particularly during the busy 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift. Based on usage statistics from May 1 – October 31, 2018, the new facility served approximately 104,000 service members, spouses and dependents. Liberty USO President and CEO Joe Brooks has projected a 2019 budget to accommodate and continue serving 125,000 visitors.

“It’s the newest and finest USO in the homeland,” said Brooks in a recent podcast recording with Philadelphia Division of Aviation CEO Chellie Cameron. “That’s what a USO center should be – a home away from home.”

The Contractors:

Transystems led the construction effort for the relocation and renovation project, with CSA Group and Promatech, Inc., as sub-contractors.