TWIN FALLS — If your bag gets searched at Twin Falls’ airport security, you won’t have to be embarrassed about those pink undergarments going on display: The newly remodeled terminal has a more private bag-search area.
That’s just one of the upgrades highlighted at the dedication ceremony Wednesday for the terminal expansion and remodel at Joslin Field — Magic Valley Regional Airport. Other features: Free wireless Internet and a larger, sunlit holding room beyond security, complete with its own bathrooms.
The $4.3 million project, mostly federally funded, enhances airport security and may decrease wait times, while allowing for future air service expansion.
“Twin Falls has grown up,” Twin Falls County Commissioner Don Hall said. “This is a huge part of our economic development.”
Petersen Brothers Construction led the work for the 8,000 square-foot addition and more than 6,000 square-foot remodel. Construction took 342 days. But it’s a project that’s been three years in planning.
“It was an interesting project to construct because we had to maintain airport operations through the duration of the project,” said Martin Hahle, principal and managing architect with Boise-based firm CSHQA.
That time frame included taking in about 175 diverted flights headed to Sun Valley, while also clearing snow at the airport.
With the project complete, the Transportation Security Administration’s security processing area will no longer block traffic in the main lobby and at the ticket counters.
“It’s going to be a considerable savings definitely, convenience-wise, which will result in efficiency and save time,” TSA Idaho Federal Security Director Andrew Coose told the Times-News.
A new body scanner will also benefit customers with implants and others who set off the magnetic sensors and may prefer to forego a pat-down.
“Airport projects like this are a milestone for a community like Twin Falls,” Coose said. “This community is growing and this community is doing great things.”
SkyWest Airlines, the airport’s only carrier, noted the potential for expanded service with the new addition.
“All that is going to add an enhanced experience for your travel outside of Twin Falls,” spokeswoman McKinnley Matson said. “This has been one of our most successful markets.”
The airline has had air service in Twin Falls since 1983.
The Joslin Field — Magic Valley Regional Airport is co-owned and funded by the city of Twin Falls and Twin Falls County. It is managed by the city.
The Federal Aviation Administration funded about 95 percent of the terminal expansion and remodel, airport manager Bill Carberry said. The local share of the project cost is $179,000, split between the city and the county.
With the expansion complete, the project helps Twin Falls become a more secure and accessible community, Mayor Shawn Barigar said. But it’s up to individuals to make the choice to use the resource.
“Flying out of Twin Falls is the way to go,” Project Superintendent Andrew DiPietro said.