Convention center could serve as emergency shelter for Hartsfield-Jackson

If travelers ever have to evacuate from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in an emergency, they may be headed to the Georgia International Convention Center for temporary shelter.

Hartsfield-Jackson and the city of College Park have struck a memorandum of understanding for the use of the GICC as a temporary emergency shelter for passengers, employees and others in the event of a full evacuation of the airport. The deal allows for the use of the facility for up to six hours, but the airport could negotiate to seek use for a longer period of time if needed, according to Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Louis Miller. The airport would reimburse the convention center for any costs.

"Hopefully we never have to use it," Miller said.

Travelers can get to the GICC via the ATL SkyTrain people-mover, which opened last year along with the airport's new rental car center. The people-mover stops at the rental car center and the GICC.

The GICC has 400,000 square feet of space and has an emergency generator, Miller told the Atlanta city council transportation committee. The committee approved a resolution authorizing the memorandum of understanding before the resolution heads to the full council for approval.