The Jackson Hole Airport has begun construction on a new and expanded Baggage Claim Building as part of the Passenger Terminal Building. The expansion project is designed to alleviate operational and passenger challenges that exist in the current configuration as well as accommodate growth well into the future. The construction involves 30,440 square feet including 13,348 square feet of baggage claim area with three carousels, an additional 1,853 square feet in the screening checkpoint, and 2,173 square feet of new airline baggage service offices. Airport manager Ray Bishop says the first phase of construction should prove no inconvenience to passengers. He says the first phase is construction of new offices and administrative facilities in a new building with a basement that will hold back-up generators and electrical facilities. That construction he says will take place between now and the Christmas holidays, and should not impact the traveling public. However, beginning next March, Bishop says the bag claim area will be torn out and the bag claim area will be out in a tent until the construction is done. That, he says will clearly impact on the traveling public. Bishop says Wadman Construction was awarded the contract as the apparent low bidder for this project. The total project cost is $19.8 million; more than half of which will come from a variety of grants and cash on hand.