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South Concourse at Missoula airport completed $2.6M under budget

MSO Terminal Open
Posted at 8:39 AM, Jan 05, 2023

While airport officials had a hunch over the last few months, they made it official on Wednesday, saying construction of Phase 1 of the new passenger terminal was delivered under budget.

The South Concourse opened to passengers last May and came with a $67.2 million projected budget. Through a series of change orders and value engineering, the project was completed at $64.6 million – a savings of $2.6 million.

The airport and its contractors have spent the past two months crunching numbers to see where the project landed. They voted to move forward with the East Concourse extension in March, which represents Phase 2 of the overall terminal project.

The decision to begin the project was made easier by an $11 million infrastructure grant awarded to the airport in January.

They've also agreed to complete Phase 3 at the same time.

“The team looks forward to continuing our success and delivering this next phase of the project, which Montanans and our guests will enjoy for years to come,” said deputy airport director Tim Damrow.

The second phase of construction will include additional aircraft gates, rental car counters and a new, expanded baggage claim. The latter has been temporarily located in the South Concourse but will move as construction advances.

Airport director Brian Ellestad said the East Concourse will open in phases, starting with baggage claim. He expects that portion of the concourse to begin operations next summer. The rest of the extension, including passenger gates and jet bridges, won't open until 2025.

The East Concourse carries an estimated cost of $42 million and will include a similar approach. The old terminal has now been razed and vertical construction is expected to begin this summer.

Ellestad said grants played a critical role in the project's financial success, including those provided by the Transportation Security Administration and the FAA.

Local financing also was obtained by the airport from First Security Bank, along with grants from the Infrastructure bill passed by Congress, which was supported by Sen. Jon Tester.