WATERVILLE — The walls are up, the roof is complete and the windows all in.

Workers this week are installing plumbing and electrical wiring in the new $3.4 million police station; and next week, they’ll put up insulation in preparation for drywall work the following week, according to Millard Nadeau, construction superintendent for the general contractor, Wright-Ryan Construction Inc., of Portland.

“Now we’re just waiting for April 1 to start the brick work,” Nadeau said Tuesday.

By all accounts, construction of the 12,133-square-foot station on Colby Street is going well.

“We’re in good shape — we really are,” Nadeau said. “I’d have to say we’re right on schedule.”

Nadeau and his crew worked through the winter, using local contractors, as well as those from Augusta, Farmington and Gardiner.

“I would say a month from now we’ll be painting and wrapping things up with flooring and carpeting,” Nadeau said. He said framework for the rooms inside the facility has been built.

City Manager Michael Roy said construction overall has been smooth.

“Things are on schedule and on budget,” he said. “We’re very happy with their progress so far. There haven’t been any major surprises.”

After police move to the new building this summer from their current space in the City Hall basement, the city will use the basement space for storage and other purposes, according to Roy.

“It’s going to be our permanent archival storage area where all the city’s important financial records and other records are kept,” he said. “Right now we have material scattered around the city in different locations — a lot of it in The Center. We have material at the fire station, at public works; we had some at the airport for a while.”

He said some City Hall functions also might move to the basement.

“We think there’s room for some offices, so we’re still looking at possibly relocating some people within City Hall down to the basement,” Roy said.

City officials decided to build a police station because the current space is cramped, antiquated and otherwise inadequate for current police needs, they said.

They said the station also is unsafe for visitors, because they use the same entrance as those who have been arrested or are to be arrested.

The new building will have a sally port that allows officers to drive cruisers with prisoners into the building itself.

Roy says he doesn’t know how best to describe the jump in quality, efficiency and safety from the current police station to the new one.

“It’s a quantum leap and it really represents the last major building project of the city’s core services — public works, fire, public library. All of those buildings have been improved in the last 10 years, except police. We don’t have any other big building improvement needs other than in our school system.”

Police Chief Joseph Massey said he is very pleased with the project.

“We’re very excited. The project is on schedule and I see great progress every time I go up there,” he said.

With the studs up inside the building, one can actually identify and see the arrangement of offices, according to Massey.

“It’s very nice. It’s certainly going to meet our demands, and we’re just anxious to get in.”

Nadeau said landscaping and other work, including building of sidewalks around the station, probably will be done in May or June.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]

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