FARMINGTON — The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department is getting new space without having to spring for a bigger building.

Renovations that are wrapping up for the building will add an interview room, expand deputy workspace and replace a carpet that was causing respiratory problems for some of the staff.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols said the crowded quarters were long overdue for renovation, but what the department really needed was more room.

“We’ve needed the extra space for a long time,” said Nichols.

Tight budgets meant Nichols had to balance the need to improve the office space and the need to be frugal.

The work started at the end of the summer with the department administration drafting plans for what would go where. Rewiring, reflooring and construction work started in September, with Deputy Kevin Hartley working as a contractor through Hartley Construction.

The department had some extra space to work with after April, when the dispatch center became a separate county department and moved into the newly constructed Franklin County Regional Communications Center. The move emptied a room, which became the office for the criminal investigative division, which consists of a lieutenant and two detectives.

More space was also found by condensing the building’s entry and moving walls to create an expanded space for the deputies, with a desk for a state police trooper.

“The old room was like a closet,” said Nichols.

State police from Skowhegan-based Troop C also patrol Franklin County with the sheriff’s department, but have worked out of the probation office in downtown Farmington. By giving state police some space at the sheriff’s department, Nichols said a new opportunity for communication between the two agencies was created.

Space was also found for an interview room, which Nichols said is the department’s first. Previously, Nichols said, administrators would be kicked out of their offices if someone needed a space to interview a witness or suspect.

“Every law enforcement agency needs an interview room,” he said.

The renovation work also brought a sense of history to the building and to the sheriff’s department itself.

Lining the newly renovated walls are large-scale copies of old black and white photos of former deputies and police. Nichols said the photos were donated by a former member of the department.

While building out the renovations, new technology was used in an effort to save more money over the course of time. Lights were replaced with LED lighting that Nichols anticipates will create long-term savings for the department.

“You can do things the cheap way, but then you end up paying for it later,” he said.

Most of the new furniture is used and was donated to the department, which the sheriff said helped keep the project under budget.

Nichols said he hopes to finish other parts of the renovation next year — performing work such as ripping up the rest of the old carpet and replacing the flooring.

“The finances weren’t there, but we’ll look at it next budget cycle,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]