Today's groundbreaking ceremony marks the beginning of construction for a new helicopter assembly center at the Lafayette Regional Airport.

Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopters will employ 250 people to assemble 505 Air Ranger X helicopters starting in 2016, with hiring to begin next year.

General manager Paul Watts says 220 deposits have already been made on the aircraft. Watts says the clientele is "diverse," although he did say a portion of Bell's customer-base comprises oil and gas companies.

The hangar will cost $26.3 million to build, and Bell will lease the property from the airport.

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