The Los Angeles City Council has approved a project to replace the Central Utility Plant at Los Angeles International Airport.

The City Council voted 9-4, with Councilmen Dennis Zine and Bernard Parks abstaining, to award a $271.5 million contract over five years to the joint venture of Clark/McCarthy for the replacement project.

The project involves the design and construction of a replacement facility for the Central Utility Plant, which provides heating and cooling for passenger terminals and other facilities within the Central Terminal Area at LAX. Through the project, required chillers, generators, pumps and other equipment will be provided, along with the replacement of chilled and hot water service lines, construction of a thermal energy storage facility, and the demolition of the existing CUP and its ancillary structures.

The replacement structure is expected to be double the size of the existing facility, which has operated for nearly 50 years.

Airport officials explained that the current plant is no longer able to fulfill current heating and cooling needs and does not have the capacity to meet increased demands that are anticipated with the planned modernization of the airport.

The CUP replacement project is described by officials as being part of the overall master plan effort at LAX. The master plan was approved by the City Council in December 2004.