As Bozeman and the surrounding area grows, more and more people are passing through the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport every year.

The number of airline passengers using the airport is increasing at a staggering rate, which means that the facility will need to expand accordingly.

Airport Director Brian Sprenger confirmed to us Wednesday that the facility is moving forward with an "accelerated design process" in order to add four new gates.

Sprenger says that the planned addition is not centered around any one particular airline, but is part of the airport's "general growth" plan in order to keep pace with growing use of the facility.

Sprenger estimates the cost of adding the new gates will come in at around $17 million and be part of the capital budget. He says that building two gates right now would already cost roughly $13 million and that spending the additional $4 million fits in with the Gallatin Airport Authority Board's long-term vision.

No renderings are available yet, but Sprenger hopes that drawing will be ready within the next couple of months.

The initial bid package will be sent out in January for a targeted February bid process to move forward.

Sprenger says that if all goes according to plan, groundbreaking on the project could happen in spring 2019.