WATERVILLE — Dozens of community members filed into the new Waterville police station Thursday to get a look at the brand new building that city officials have wanted for years.
The $3.4 million building at Colby Circle is nearly complete, and the department expects to move in next week. The building is near the Social Security Administration building and the district courthouse.
“It’s much needed for them,” said Diane Wright, an employee for the United Way of Mid-Maine, while on a tour of the station Thursday. “It’s an actual police station and not just the old City Hall basement.”
The police department has been housed in the basement of Waterville’s City Hall on Front Street with few windows, little privacy and without a lot of the functionality a modern police department needs.
“I’ve spent 27 years with Waterville police, and they’ve all been spent in a basement of a 100-year-old building,” said Police Chief Joe Massey, who greeted visitors Thusday as they entered the spacious lobby. “It’s going to be safer and much more pleasant to work out of here.”
Records Clerk Judith Laplante, officer Dennis Picard and Chief Deputy Charles Rumsey led the tours of about 12 to 15 people, while another 30 or so waited in the lobby.
Massey said the new station is a testament to the city’s support of the police department. “We hope it’s here for the next 50 to 70 years,” he said.
The tour began in the dispatch center, followed by looks into the chief and chief deputy’s offices. Evidence storage and the detectives’ unit followed — areas that will be off-limits to the public once the station is up and running.
“Had we done the tour next week when we’re operational, there would have been some restrictions as to where you could go,” Massey said. “We decided to offer the tour before those areas became restricted.”
The armory, holding cells, training and conference rooms, and the records storage rounded out the 15-minute tour.
“There were hours spent talking about the specifics of this building,” Picard said to his tour group, adding that everything — even the carpets — was carefully discussed.
“The carpet comes apart in squares, so we can replace just a portion of it if need be.”
Additional tours of the new station were scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. today.
Jesse Scardina — 861-9239