The first ceremonial shovels of dirt will be turned Friday, Jan. 29 for construction of a new Knox County Regional Airport terminal.

The ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. on that date, Airport Manager Jeffrey Northgraves told the Knox County commissioners at their Jan. 12 meeting.

Full-fledged construction will begin the following week and Northgraves said the terminal could be ready for occupancy in December.

Sheridan Corporation of Fairfield got the  job with a bid of $3.2 million. George C. Hall & Sons of Rockland is the subcontractor for Sheridan on the terminal project.

The Federal Aviation Administration is paying for 90 percent of the project with the Maine Department of Transportation and the county both picking up 5 percent.

The terminal will be slightly less than 10,000 square feet and be located where the old blue Downeast terminal stands.

The terminal project is moving ahead because county officials have pointed out that the current building lacks sufficient space to adequately house the airport’s security and baggage-handling equipment, and there is little room for passenger seating and restrooms. The building also has frequent power outages, water leaks, and septic system backups, and is not designed for the weight it must carry, the airport manager has said in prior meetings with commissioners.