TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – The expansion project of Magic Valley Regional Airport is officially underway. City and county officials, along with airport personnel, gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning outside the terminal.

Groundbreaking for the airport began in 1947, Airport Manager Bill Carberry told the audience, who braved a chilly wind for the ceremony. Fast forward 50 years to 1997, when another group of officials gathered to break ground for the current terminal.

“This day is one of renewal,” Carberry said Tuesday, which was the beginning of yet another expansion project.

The $4.3 million project, funded mostly by Federal Aviation Administration dollars, will be broken into four phases and is scheduled for completion in February 2017. Construction will be phased in such a way as to have little impact on air travelers who use the facility.

The project, which will streamline services at the facility and give it a more ageless look, will expand the terminal by more than 8,000 square feet and improve another 6,000 square feet of existing space. The holding area will be expanded and will include restrooms. Currently, no restrooms exist in the current holding area. The ticket lobby and passenger screening areas also will be improved, and baggage screening will be moved to a more secure location out of view of airport customers.

“Our goal is to deliver to the city and county a project that not only looks amazing on paper but is amazing as a finished project,” TSA’s Curtis Vialpando, assistant federal security director, told the audience, pausing as the engines of a Delta passenger plane readied for takeoff on the runway behind the podium.

“I’m happy to see the timing and funding come together to make these changes,” said County Commissioner George Urie.

Twin Falls City Mayor Shawn Barigar said once complete, the improved terminal will better meet the demands of a 21st century airport. Then donning a white helmet and grabbing a shovel, the mayor led officials in the groundbreaking ceremony.

Afterward, attendees gathered inside the current terminal for refreshments, while work went on as usual at the ticket and baggage areas as airport security and staff assisted travelers.

“We’re really excited about the changes,” Skywest spokeswoman McKinnley Matson said inside the terminal. “We’re excited to provide improved experiences for our customers.”

Carberry told News Radio 1310 that the new and improved terminal will better serve its customers and make using the airport a more comfortable experience for both staff and travelers.

“I feel really good about this,” he said. “It’s been a long time putting the planning and funding together. Now, here we are breaking ground. It feels really good.”