MISSOULA - The $66.5 million new terminal at the Missoula airport is scheduled to open on June 8, 2022.
Originally scheduled for May 4, the date was pushed back to provide more time for staff to familiarize themselves with the building and add final touches to the concourse.
Airport deputy director Tim Damrow -- who knows every corner of the new terminal -- said he'll be a little emotional for his team on opening day.
- PHOTO GALLERY: Inside the new Missoula airport terminal
"I'm going to try not to cry. I kinda feel like this has been a baby up to this point. All of the staff has been great."
The building features clever energy-saving measures, including circulating water from the aquifer to cool the floors and windows that resemble transition lenses of glasses, reducing solar warming.
A primary goal of the new terminal is to expand the capacity for larger crowds.
Wider walkways and adding extra gates and check-in locations will allow planes carrying hundreds of passengers to come and go from Missoula.
Damrow says the new tech allows travelers to keep items packed away for speed.
"It's kind of our restriction here. Just got to make sure everything is fitting in there. The benefit of it is that you're able to keep those liquids and laptops in your bag as well."
Local businesses have installed dining facilities in the new space, adding local flavors to layover times, and more than 70% of the contract work was done by Montana companies.
Touring the facility, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said infrastructure improvements like the airport connect Montana with the rest of the world.
"Montana has been discovered, we've had record tourism last year. I don't think anyone is predicting that that's going to slow down. I'm thrilled we have this asset in Missoula now, so we can make travel comfortable for people coming and leaving Montana."
Officials have asked travelers going through the current facility to plan a little extra time during the transition, as equipment is moved over to the new building.
The first flights with the new terminal should be cleared to take off on June 8.