GARY, Ind. — The Gary Chicago International Airport says it’s one step closer to building a new customs and border patrol facility.

Airport officials said Thursday that they have received the necessary design approvals from the federal government to construct a new General Aviation Customs and Border Patrol area. Airport officials now say they’re looking for a professional construction management firm for the project.

Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority chairman Stephen Mays says the facility will increase the number of airport users because travelers won’t have to stop somewhere else to clear customs.

The announcement comes about two years after the airport extended its main runway, which airport officials say brought a nearly 16 percent increase in operations.

The airport is about 25 miles (40.23 kilometers) southeast of downtown Chicago.