Construction will start soon on the first stage of a $17.6 million terminal improvement project at Fayetteville Regional Airport.

Local government officials, dignitaries and members of the Fayetteville Regional Airport Commission participated in a “wall-breaking” ceremony on Nov. 14 near Concourse A, which is being replaced.

“It’s a great start for our airport today,” the commission’s Jay Wyatt III said in a report published by the Fayetteville Observer.

Airport Director Bradley Whited said construction would begin “any day now.”

“We’ve been planning this project seven years,” Whited said.There will be a new elevator; a connector to a new second-level main terminal, with two new walkways to the planes, and a new restaurant and kitchen space.

This first phase will take an estimated 18 months to complete and the work is projected to be finished in July 2019, he said. The work is part of an overall project originally budgeted at $30 million over the next three to five years.

Fayetteville Regional’s original sections of the Terminal and Concourse A were built in 1969.

“It’s time for an update,” Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson said after the ceremony. “I appreciate the Airport Commission being on top of the grants, where the city of Fayetteville shares a percentage of the costs.”

The FAA is providing about $13.9 million, the N.C. Division of Aviation is contributing about $2.28 million, and an additional $1.4 million is being allocated from airport funds through the city of Fayetteville’s budget.

The second phase of terminal improvements is planned to begin in the fall of 2019.