December 22, 2012

New Waterville police station on pace for July 1 completion, city manager says

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — Construction of a $3.4 million police station on Colby Street is on schedule, with a planned completion date of July 1, according to City Manager Michael Roy.

click image to enlarge

Workers prepare plumbing connections before a foundation is poured for the new Waterville police department building on Thursday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

By late last week, the site work was continuing, with sewer and water links in place and concrete footings installed.

"Next comes the actual walls themselves, the structural walls, and the slab for the building," Roy said.

The one-story, 12,133-square-foot police station will replace the current station in the basement of City Hall off Front Street. That space is cramped, antiquated and inadequate for police needs, according to city officials.

It also poses safety problems, as people being arrested or brought in for questioning come in through the same entrance the public uses.

Roy said a sally port will be built on the west, or College Avenue, side of the building so cruisers can drive into the structure and transfer people being detained to a secure booking and holding area. "To me, the real value in the new station are those safety-related features," Roy said Friday. "Having a new building designed for certain features to accommodate this was very, very important."

Police Chief Joseph Massey said he gets regular updates on the construction.

"I'm very pleased with the progress of the project and where they're currently at, considering cold weather is closing in on us," Massey said Friday.

The new site on Colby Street, also known as Colby Circle, is about a half-mile north of the current police station.

It is being built next to Waterville District Court and the U.S. Social Security Administration buildings, both of which are owned by Hight Partners and leased for those purposes. The city bought the land for the police station from Hight Partners for $100,000. It is on the south side of Colby Circle.

Roy said the city has a $140,000 contingency fund for the police station project, to be used for additional work that may be needed during the construction process.

So far, $25,000 from that fund is being used for three items, according to Roy. About $22,000 was used to remove concrete and granite rubble that was buried there when the old Colby College campus was razed, he said.

About $3,000 is being used to put a plastic sleeve under the road for a future water line that would provide access to the rest of the Hight property; and because of the poor soil conditions, a geotextile fabric is being placed under the future parking lot to provide a better subsurface, according to Roy.

He said bad weather delayed the construction work about a week, but workers returned on Thursday.

The wooden building will be rectangular and have a brick facade. The project's architect is Port City Architecture, of Portland; the general contractor is Wright-Ryan Construction Inc., also of Portland.

The station will include a dispatch center, offices for Massey and Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey, and a sergeant's room.

"There is no physical fitness room; that was one of the things eliminated in the budgeting process," Roy said. "And the conference room size was reduced as a result of budget worries."

Roy said the work will continue throughout the winter.

Meanwhile, it is unclear what the current police station site will be used for once police move out next summer. Massey said there has been talk about possibly using it for storage and some offices.

 

Amy Calder — 861-9247
acalder@centralmaine.com

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