Area pilots, Stephenville city administrators, airport advisory board members and travelers are gearing up for a special holiday treat as the eagerly anticipated terminal building at the city’s airport is expected to open just in time for Christmas.

According to Drew Wells, director of community development, the construction contract has an anticipated completion date of Dec. 31, but the project continues to run ahead of schedule.

The terminal building will give a new face to Stephenville Clark Regional Airport and bring the facility up to speed with other municipal airports across the state. The terminal will house a pilot’s lounge, common lobby area, vending and kitchen facilities, restrooms, a conference room and offices.

Wells said the conference room will host meetings of the airport’s advisory board, be available for public use, have audio and video capabilities and accommodate a gathering of eight to 10 people comfortably.

Over the past couple of weeks, the work site has begun to look more like a functioning terminal as the scaffolding has come down and contractors have painted the terminal building’s interior walls, laid tile and installed the false ceiling.

This week more finishing touches are being applied and in about two weeks, Wells said the city will begin moving in furniture.

“Everything is on track,” Wells said. “We are about two weeks from completion.”

Airport Advisory Board member and local pilot Rick Tennyson said the new terminal, in combination with upcoming improvement projects, will not only put Stephenville Clark on the map, it will also more accurately depict the city.

“The airport has not been conducive with the image of Stephenville,” Tennyson said. “I have been a pilot for about seven and a half years and flown into a lot of small airports in Texas and neighboring states.”

He said although the local airport’s managers are extremely accommodating, the old terminal building had little to offer and also gave incoming travelers a less than desirable first glimpse of the city. 

But the new image, according to Tennyson, will be much different.

“It will be one of the best looking facilities around once it is complete,” Tennyson said. “It is going to be a top notch facility.”

The city is planning a dedication ceremony at the airport next year.

And the improvement project will not stop with the opening of the new terminal. Also on the drawing board is a runway extension project, which will increase the runway by 800 feet to accommodate small jet traffic since many insurance carriers will not cover crafts using facilities less than 5,000 feet.

Increasing the size of the runway will likely deliver profits from business travelers flying into the area. Those needing to touch down or take off from 5,000 ft. runways are forced to Mineral Wells or other cities.

The airport projects are largely funded by the Texas Department of Transportation Aviation Division.