Glacier Park International Airport (GPIA) is preparing for some major renovations and expansion .
Airport director Rob Ratkowski says travelers can see changes as soon as this spring as thousands of feet of much needed space are added to the airport.
The number of gates will grow from five to seven gates, six of which will have jet bridges. Concession areas will also be expanded.
Swank construction based in Montana and Q and D in Las Vegas have been tapped to work on the $97 million project.
Funding for the project is coming from a variety of grants and bonds with Ratkowski saying it’s a perfect partnership as Swank helped construct the airport 20 years ago.
He says this expansion is desperately needed, as the airport saw a 30% increase in passengers just within the past three years.
"We saw 356,000 passengers last year," said Ratkowki "That compares to 307,000 the year before that, 275,000 the year before that. So, we've had 100,000 [additional] passengers just since I took over three years ago."
Ratkowski says the construction will be completed in stages with the first phase starting this spring. It's expected to be completed in January of 2022.