WATERVILLE — City councilors on Tuesday are scheduled to choose an architect to help identify a site for and design a police station.

Three firms submitted bids to the city for the work, according to City Manager Michael Roy. They are WBRC, of Bangor; TFH, of Portland; and Port City Architecture, also of Portland, he said. TFH is the city’s architect for the Waterville Opera House renovation project, he said.

The city’s police station committee ultimately will forward a recommendation for an architect to the City Council, according to Roy.

“We completed the interviews with the architects yesterday and didn’t have time to reach a final conclusion, so Monday at 4:30 p.m. we’re going to meet to do that. Tuesday night, we’ll be able to recommend a name and an amount,” Roy said.

The committee is considering three sites for a police station: a city-owned parking lot at Head of Falls, off Front Street; land owned by Hight Partners on Colby Street near Waterville District Court and the Social Security Administration building; and the Morning Sentinel building on Front Street.

The Head of Falls and Colby Street sites would require a new building; the Sentinel building would have to be renovated to accommodate police needs.

“None of these three sites have been eliminated,” Roy said. “Is it possible it could end up being more than three? I guess it’s possible.”

He said the architect chosen will assist the city in choosing an appropriate site.

“Their main job is to design a new building, whether that building is new-new, or whether a station goes into an existing building,” Roy said. “Their job is architectural design.”

Roy said he did not know the architecture bid amounts. The process the city is using to review and select bids, Quality Based Selection, requires that interviews be conducted and applicants scored based on a number of criteria, Roy said. Then a firm is selected.

“Then and only then do you look at prices,” he said. “We don’t even open the prices until we decide who we feel is the most qualified.”

City councilors earlier this year approved spending $2.5 million for a police station. The station in the basement of City Hall is antiquated, cramped and inadequate for police needs, they said.

Roy said he thinks the police committee will continue to meet once an architect is chosen, to see the design through to completion.

Construction would begin next year, he said.

“My guess is that the site selection will be completed in December,” he said. “I don’t think any construction could begin (this year) because next there comes the design phase and you bid the project out, select contractors and then we’re into late spring, early summer.”

When councilors voted to spend money for a police station, they adopted a schedule that had the station completed at the end of 2012, according to Roy.

“So that’s the same timeline that we’re working on,” he said.

He spoke positively about the three firms that were interviewed.

“All three were very well qualified, and we don’t have any worry about choosing any of the three,” Roy said.

Police committee members are Sam Shapiro; Council Chairman Charles Stubbert Jr., D-Ward 1; China Town Manager Dan L’Heureux; Allan Rancourt; George Coleman; Cathy Taylor; Mayor Dana Sennett; Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7; Michelle Plumstead; and ex-officio, or nonvoting, members Roy, City Engineer Greg Brown, Fire Chief David LaFountain and police Chief Joseph Massey.

Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at The Center downtown.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

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